Where Bias Begins: a Snapshot of Police Officers’ Beliefs About Factors that Influence the Investigative Interview with Suspects

Nicole M. Adams-Quackenbush*, Robert Horselenberg, Peter J. van Koppen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The aim of the current study was to obtain a snapshot of police officer’s beliefs about factors that may influence the outcome of the investigative interview with suspects. We created a 26-item survey that contained statements around three specific themes: best interview practices, confessions and interviewee vulnerabilities. Police officers (N = 101) reported their beliefs on each topic by indicating the level of agreement or disagreement with each statement. The findings indicated that this sample of officers held beliefs that were mostly consistent with the literature. However, many officers also responded in the mid-range (neither agree nor disagree) which may indicate they are open to developing literature-consistent beliefs of the topics. Understanding what officers believe about factors within the investigative interview may have implications for future training. It may also help explain why some officers do not consistently apply best practices (i.e. strong counterfactual beliefs) versus officers who reliably apply literature-consistent practices to their interviews (i.e. knowledge-consistent beliefs).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Volume34
Issue number4
Early online date10 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Beliefs
  • Bias
  • Investigative interview
  • Knowledge
  • Survey

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