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Article
Publication date: 14 December 2020

Melissa S. Morabito, April Pattavina and Linda M. Williams

Police officers are exposed to a wide variety of stressors – frequently interacting with people at their worst moments and sometimes absorbing the trauma that victims…

Abstract

Purpose

Police officers are exposed to a wide variety of stressors – frequently interacting with people at their worst moments and sometimes absorbing the trauma that victims experience themselves. Investigating sexual assaults reported by adults presents significant challenges given the often high levels of distress experienced by victims paired with the likelihood that no arrest will be made and the low conviction rates. Little research explores the impact this investigatory work has on the detectives who are assigned to these cases.

Design/methodology/approach

Using interviews conducted with 42 sexual assault detectives across six jurisdictions designed to understand sexual assault case attrition, the study enhances understanding of the effects of investigating crimes of sexual violence on detectives. Specifically, the aurhors explore their experiences within the context of burnout and secondary traumatic stress.

Findings

The current study clearly identifies the incidence of emotional symptoms among sexual assault investigators. During the course of interviews about their decision-making, detectives, unprompted by researchers, manifested symptoms of trauma resulting from their assigned caseloads.

Research limitations/implications

Open-ended interviews offer a promising approach to exploring foundational questions.

Practical implications

Exposure to victims who have suffered the trauma of sexual assault can have a subsequent impact on the job performance and personal life of those who respond to victims in immediate crisis and to those who provide long-term assistance. A plan for future research is detailed to better pinpoint how and when these symptoms arise and interventions that may address their effects.

Originality/value

While there is a large literature detailing vicarious trauma for social workers, nurses and doctors, the topic is generally understudied among police officers and specifically detectives despite their repeated contacts with adult victims of violent crimes. This research builds upon the knowledge of burnout experienced by child maltreatment detectives to enhance understanding of sexual assault detectives.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 August 2009

Irena Gorenak and Vinko Gorenak

The purpose of this paper is to describe and to research cooperation between the police and other relevant government organizations. The subject of this paper is…

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557

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and to research cooperation between the police and other relevant government organizations. The subject of this paper is cooperation between Criminal Investigation Department (CID) detectives and workers at the Social Service Centers (SSC), representatives of Prosecutor's office, Court Investigation Departments, Attorneys‐at‐Law, workers at the administrative units, Market Inspectorate and Labor Inspectorate and tax authorities in Slovenia. The goal of this paper is to establish whether there is a correlation between forms of cooperation and satisfaction with cooperation among CID detectives and representatives of these various organizations with work relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

A study is conducted on a sample of 314 representatives of various organizations that CID detectives work within. A non‐experimental research design is used, the method of work is a field study, and the research technology is a questionnaire. Gathered data are analyzed with the help of SPSS for Windows performing descriptive statistic, factor analysis, analysis of variance and correlation analysis.

Findings

Findings show that there is connection between formal cooperation (FC), informal cooperation (IC) and satisfaction with cooperation between CID detectives and representatives of various organizations. Representatives of organizations have evaluated cooperation with CID detectives as good. They also indicate that representatives of various organizations are evaluating both forms of cooperation differently.

Research limitations/implications

Results are presenting assessment of cooperation and relationship between CID detectives and representatives of studied organizations that CID detectives work within offered by workers at the SSC, representatives of Prosecutor's office, Court Investigation Departments, Attorneys‐at‐Law, Workers at the Administrative Units, representatives of various inspectorate and tax authorities. For further complex evaluation of relations, the opinion of detectives cooperating in this matter would have needed to be obtained.

Practical implications

The main implications of the paper for managers in studied organizations are that they are encouraging different shapes of FC and IC between CID detectives and employees in those organizations, which should be based on ethical criteria and professionalism.

Originality/value

This paper deepens understanding of cooperation between CID detectives and remaining organizations and should be of particular interest to people who want to improve cooperation between all organizations.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 April 2018

Roberto G. Santos

The purpose of this paper is to examine how both offenders and their families perceived their interactions with police and whether there were negative consequences of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how both offenders and their families perceived their interactions with police and whether there were negative consequences of the offender-focused strategy that was implemented in a hot spots policing experiment.

Design/methodology/approach

Data from interviews of 32 offenders and 29 family members are examined qualitatively for themes to evaluate how the strategy was carried out and how it impacted offenders’ behavior and both groups’ perceptions of the police detectives and the strategy overall.

Findings

The results show that there was overwhelming agreement by both offenders and their family members that the police detectives who contacted them treated both groups with dignity and respect. After the contact was over, the offenders appeared to commit less crime, followed probation more closely, and had positive feelings about what the police detectives were trying to do. Improvement of the offenders’ relationships with their families was an unanticipated finding indicating a diffusion of benefits of the strategy.

Practical implications

The results suggest that when procedural justice principles are used in an offender-focused police intervention, positive impact can be achieved without negative consequences.

Originality/value

This is a rare example of an in-depth evaluation of the perceptions of offenders and family members contacted through a hot spots policing offender-focused strategy.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2021

Sean E. Goodison

The study aims to examine the effect of detective experience on the likelihood of clearing a homicide, while controlling for additional extralegal and case/investigative…

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to examine the effect of detective experience on the likelihood of clearing a homicide, while controlling for additional extralegal and case/investigative characteristics.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses homicide and policing data collected from case files in a mid-sized US city. Detective experience is measured in multiple ways. Analytical models include extralegal variables, case characteristics, and proxies of investigative quality as controls. The study uses logistic regression with a dichotomous clearance outcome.

Findings

The results suggest a robust and significant inverse relationship between the years spent as a homicide detective and the likelihood of case closure. However, years of experience with the department overall has a significant and positive relationship to clearance. Investigation-related variables and case characteristics contribute more to model explanatory power than extralegal factors.

Originality/value

The potential role of experience has not been fully explored, with contradictory findings over time. This work builds on previous research to highlight the potential role of experience in clearing cases, while questioning previous assumptions tied to the belief that more experience improves investigative outcomes.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 April 2019

Elpiniki Spanoudaki, Maria Ioannou, John Synnott, Calli Tzani-Pepelasi and Ntaniella Roumpini Pylarinou

The purpose of this paper is to explore investigative decision-making processes in the context of major crimes as experienced by the law enforcement agents.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore investigative decision-making processes in the context of major crimes as experienced by the law enforcement agents.

Design/methodology/approach

Episodic interviews were conducted with six agents from medium-sized police forces in the UK. Following the framework of naturalistic inquiry, qualitative content analysis took place with the assistance of Atlas.ti software. To ensure the validity of findings, the within method triangulation was preferred, by additionally analysing the interview transcripts with Alceste.

Findings

Findings from this study revealed a variety of internal factors at play, shaping the decision-making course into an act of balancing various desired goals. Detectives appear to assess a situation based on their experiences confirming that the naturalistic decision-making model may assist in understanding investigative decision-making.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the busy schedule of law enforcement agents the number of participants was limited and availability difficult; therefore, this study can be thought of as a pilot study that will inspire researchers to use the same method for in-depth understanding of investigative decision-making.

Practical implications

Results captured the ill-defined goals in the police environment and provided ways of decreasing their impact on investigative decision-making thus should help detectives to understand their decision-making limitations and strengths.

Social implications

This project will enhance the psychological understanding of investigative decision-making.

Originality/value

This project assists in understanding the psychological aspect of investigative decision-making during police duty and provides the opportunity to law enforcement agents to re-evaluate situations in order to improve the investigative decision-making process; while adds to existing literature.

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2019

Cheryl Allsop and Sophie Pike

The purpose of this paper is to suggest two things: first, that the scientific and technological developments and increased regulation that have shaped homicide…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to suggest two things: first, that the scientific and technological developments and increased regulation that have shaped homicide investigations in England and Wales over the last few decades have provided today’s investigators with opportunities not available to their predecessors, and play a key role in solving unsolved homicides. Second, however, the authors suggest that such developments have created new challenges for investigators, challenges that impede current investigations, potentially creating the future unsolved cases.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on two qualitative studies that comprised over eight months of ethnographic research, observations, interviews with serving and retired homicide detectives and case file analysis.

Findings

The widespread changes to homicide investigations in England and Wales have been valuable in many respects, notably, they have allowed detectives to look back in time and bring longstanding unsolved cases to a close. However, change, although well intentioned, might actually be creating future cold cases as detectives endeavour to manage the volume of information now generated during investigations, fast evolving scientific and technological techniques and an increase in bureaucracy.

Practical implications

This study is helpful for: improving investigative practice; learning from change; reducing unsolved homicides vs a rise in new cold cases; and innovative and entrepreneurial investigators.

Originality/value

Utilising qualitative research, this paper contributes to the academic literature exploring homicide investigation in England and Wales, offering insight into the challenges facing detectives and the potential impact of these upon solving past and present homicide cases.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2009

Petter Gottschalk, Stefan Holgersson and Jan Terje Karlsen

The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize detectives in police investigations as knowledge workers.

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1839

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize detectives in police investigations as knowledge workers.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a literature review covering knowledge organizations, police organizations, police investigations, and detectives as knowledge workers.

Findings

The paper finds that the changing role of the detective as a resource influences investigation performance in solving complex and organized crime.

Research limitations/implications

This exploratory research provides no final conclusions.

Practical implications

Leadership in police investigations needs to focus on knowledge management among detectives rather than information collection in each criminal case.

Originality/value

Until this paper, the secretive nature of the detective world has been unexplored by manpower researchers.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1960

LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER : BEFORE Opening, as we do, a new volume of THE LIBRARY WORLD, especially as with it we reach the venerable age of sixty‐one, does suggest…

Abstract

LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER : BEFORE Opening, as we do, a new volume of THE LIBRARY WORLD, especially as with it we reach the venerable age of sixty‐one, does suggest retrospective and prospective view. The magazine is the oldest amongst independent library journals, though others existed before 1899 in different forms or under other titles than those by which they are known to‐day. When at the end of last century it was felt that utterances were needed about libraries, unfettered by uncritical allegiance to associations or coteries, librarianship was a vessel riding upon an official sea of complacency so far as its main organisation was concerned. It was in the first tide, so far as public libraries were concerned, of Carnegie gifts of buildings, not yet however at the full flood. The captains were men of the beginnings of the library voyage; who were still guided themselves by the methods and modes of the men who believed in libraries, yet feared what the public might do in its use of them. Hence the indicator, meant to show, as its name implies, what books were available, but even more to secure them from theft, and to preserve men and women from the violent mental reactions they would suffer from close contact with large numbers of books. There were rebels of course. Six years earlier James Duff Brown has turned his anvil shaped building in Clerkenwell into a safeguarded open access library in which he actually allowed people, properly vetted, to enter and handle their own property. This act of faith was a great one, because within a mile or so some 5,000 books had been lost from the Bishopgate Institute Library, which has open shelves, too, not “safeguarded”. Brown's “cave of library chaos” as a well‐known Chairman, who by one visit was convinced of its good sense and practicability, called it, focused the attention of scores of librarians—so much so that Brown had to beg them to keep away for about a year, so that the method might be better judged after sufficient trial. It also focused the attention of the inventors of the indicator, who, presumably, had more than a benevolent interest in its sales. So there was war against this threat and for several years this childish contention raged at conferences, in private conversations amongst library workers, and in letters to the press aimed to convict Brown and all his satellites of encouraging dishonesty, mental confusion and other maladies public. Hence Brown, L. Stanley Jast, William Fortune and others initiated this journal to teach librarians and library committees how libraries were to be run. That, in extreme brevity, is our genesis. For sixty years it has encouraged voices, new and old, orthodox or unorthodox, who had something to say, or could give a new face to old things, to use its pages. Brown was its first honorary Editor, and with some assistance in the later stages remained so for the thirteen years he had yet to live. Nearly every librarian of distinction in his day has at some time or other contributed to these pages. So much of our past may be said and we hope will be allowed.

Details

New Library World, vol. 62 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2007

Mark R. Kebbell and Caitriona M.E. O'Kelly

The aim of this paper is to review common methods used by English lawyers when questioning police witnesses, and to identify training issues for preparing officers for…

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1599

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to review common methods used by English lawyers when questioning police witnesses, and to identify training issues for preparing officers for giving evidence in court.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was administered to 48 police detectives concerning the last time they gave evidence in court, the types of questions they were asked during cross‐examination, lawyers' tactics, and what they believed to be personal attacks.

Findings

The findings indicated that detectives perceived they were questioned in a consistent manner, and asked questions that they felt at times were difficult to understand, difficult to answer, upsetting, and distorted their evidence. Nevertheless, they were generally satisfied with their experiences in court.

Research limitations/implications

The current study in this paper uses self‐report methodology that may be less objective than independent observation. A potentially fruitful avenue of research might be the study of court cases where police officers give evidence to measure the influence of lawyers' questions directly.

Practical implications

The results indicate a number of training issues for preparing police officers to give evidence in court. Officers should be trained to deal with confusing or constraining questioning, and to thoroughly prepare. Officers should also be trained concerning how to deal with inconsistencies in evidence, mistakes, and having their character attacked.

Originality/value

This is the first survey, to the authors' knowledge, of police officers' experiences of giving evidence in court and suggests some ways of improving the overall accuracy of police witnesses' accounts in court.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Martin Gill and Jerry Hart

Presents recent research on private detectives in the UK which raised fascinating differences between British and American investigators. Not only are these evident from…

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1118

Abstract

Presents recent research on private detectives in the UK which raised fascinating differences between British and American investigators. Not only are these evident from analysis of their roles, responsibilities and histories, but also in cultural representations of private investigators in literature, film and factual reporting in the mass media. How private investigators are portrayed in the two countries raises interesting questions about public and private policing and differing attitudes to the politics of order maintenance. Explores private investigators’ British and American history, both in fact and fiction. Develops an original perspective on individual and collective approaches to policing and justice.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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