Forensic Psychology Service Launches as Industry-first

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Updated Published

A forensic psychology service aimed at supporting investigators in getting to the truth of crimes at sea has been launched by Germany’s Mental Health Support Solutions (MHSS). 

Julia Oppermann, clinical and forensic psychologist, is heading the service which is expected to interest investigation teams at P&I clubs, shipowners and flags. 

Oppermann has previously worked on cold cases for the German police, with experience examining crime scene photos to determine whether a photo has been staged or that the initial conclusions made may not be correct. 

CEO of MHSS, Charles Watkins, stated that this new service is significant if maritime is to offer victims the equivalent level of investigative zeal as would be employed on land. 

“Currently we find that there is less likelihood of a prosecution if events happen onboard – not through the fault of any specific agency but because of the fragmented nature of responsibility which involves the owner, manager, flag, insurer and potentially other bodies too,” said Watkins .

Oppermann added, “Forensic psychologists are trained to spot where things don’t ring true and can apply their knowledge of human behaviour to evaluate what is likely to have taken place. We can not only help to identify wrong doing but also help ensure that lessons are learned for the future so that future occurrences are prevented.”