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Article
Publication date: 4 August 2022

Martin Vaughan, Rebecca Milne, Gary Dalton and Steven Retford

High-stake crime investigations include cases such as murder and rape. The purpose of this paper is to outline the components of an interview strategy for suspects. In the…

Abstract

Purpose

High-stake crime investigations include cases such as murder and rape. The purpose of this paper is to outline the components of an interview strategy for suspects. In the UK, these interviews are often managed by Interview Managers who are tasked with developing effective interview strategies with the aim of ensuring all parties involved in the interview process are dealt with ethically and legally using research-based methods.

Design/methodology/approach

This practitioner paper is based on the experience of the authors who have provided advice and support during high-stake crime investigations both nationally and internationally using the research-base to underpin their practical advice.

Findings

To be effective, a suspect strategy constructed by an Interview Manager in high-stake crime investigations should be designed within a framework that covers the provision of strategic advice on research-based interview processes including: co-ordination of the interview process, monitoring of the interview process and evaluation of the interview process.

Practical implications

To ensure interviews are effectively managed during high-stake crime investigations, the suspect interview strategy must be developed to a professional standard to allow for quality assurance and outside scrutiny.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first published paper that outlines the nature of a suspect strategy that is based on a Framework consistent with elements of the UK National Occupational Standards.

Details

The Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Ethnographies of Law and Social Control
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-128-6

Article
Publication date: 6 June 2022

Kelly Warren, Mark Snow and Heidi Abbott

The study aims to examine what laypersons expect those corroborating an alibi to remember about an interaction with an alibi provider.

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to examine what laypersons expect those corroborating an alibi to remember about an interaction with an alibi provider.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants (N = 314) were presented with a mock crime scenario and answered questions about an alibi provider (i.e. the criminal suspect) and alibi corroborators. Participants also completed a lineup task based on the scenario and rated the likelihood of their own ability to corroborate the suspect’s alibi.

Findings

Overall, participants believed that it was moderately likely that an alibi corroborator with no prior relationship with the suspect would be able to vouch for the suspect, provide a description and to remember his general physical characteristics. Those who were inaccurate in their lineup decision demonstrated lower expectations of their own ability to corroborate the suspect’s alibi relative to those who were accurate in their decision.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first known study to assess what those judging an alibi expect when making a decision about the outcome of a case. Results demonstrate that laypeople have arguably unrealistic expectations of alibi corroborators, potentially jeopardizing innocent people’s ability to prove their innocence.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 July 2021

James Markey, Thomas Scott, Crystal Daye and Kevin J. Strom

Sexual assault investigations present uniquely challenging circumstances to detectives, and a small proportion result in arrest. Improving sexual assault investigations…

Abstract

Purpose

Sexual assault investigations present uniquely challenging circumstances to detectives, and a small proportion result in arrest. Improving sexual assault investigations requires expanding the evidence base to improve our understanding of how these investigations unfold and the factors associated with positive case outcomes, including the likelihood that an offender is arrested.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors abstracted data on 491 adult sexual assaults investigated by five large and midsized law enforcement agencies to describe the characteristics of sexual assault investigations and to explain the relationships between these characteristics and the likelihood that a suspect is arrested.

Findings

Overall, detectives move swiftly to investigate sexual assaults but tend to miss investigative opportunities that increase the likelihood of an arrest, like locating and processing the crime scene or pursuing interviews with key witnesses and leads. Sexual assaults typically lack physical evidence that can be used to identify and lead to an arrest of a suspected offender; when this evidence is present, the case is more likely to result in an arrest. Delayed reporting of the crime to law enforcement decreases the likelihood of a suspect being arrested, but the mechanisms are unclear.

Originality/value

Few studies have used a detailed data abstraction process for a large sample of cases from multiple law enforcement agencies to understand sexual assault investigations and their case outcomes. The results can improve practitioners' and researchers' understanding of sexual assault investigations, including those factors that increase the likelihood of a suspect's arrest.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 March 2008

William Terrill, Fredrik H. Leinfelt and Dae‐Hoon Kwak

This research seeks to examine police use of force from a smaller police agency perspective in comparison with what is known from previous research using data from…

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Abstract

Purpose

This research seeks to examine police use of force from a smaller police agency perspective in comparison with what is known from previous research using data from larger‐scale agencies.

Design/methodology/approach

Using police use of force reports involving arrests (n=3,264) over a three‐year period (2002‐2004) from a small police agency located in the upper‐Midwest, this study utilizes descriptive and multivariate analyses to examine how and why officers use force.

Findings

While officers resorted to physical force (beyond handcuffing) in 18 percent of the arrest encounters, the majority of force is located at the lower end of the force continuum (e.g. soft hand control). However, unlike officer behavior, much of the resistant behavior displayed by suspects is toward the upper end of the spectrum (e.g. defensive/active). The results also indicate that the most powerful predictor of force is the presence and level of suspect resistance presented to officers. These findings are placed within the context of prior work.

Research limitations/implications

Since the current study relies on official data from a single police agency, the findings come with caution in terms of generalizability.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature on police use of force by examining everyday force usage in a small police department.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 May 2011

Steven Sellers and Mark R. Kebbell

The purpose of this paper is to determine the role of evidence in the interviewing of suspects.

445

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the role of evidence in the interviewing of suspects.

Design/methodology/approach

Analyses were made of 55 interview transcripts about the questioning of suspected sex offenders by officers of an Australian police service.

Findings

In 22 per cent of these interviews the suspect actively attempted to discover what the evidence against them was and in 9 per cent the interviewer attempted to learn of the suspect's knowledge of this evidence. Interviewers tended to favour a strategy of first asking the suspect to provide a free account of their role in the alleged crime. If this approach failed to elicit a confession, interviewers would then disclose at least some of the evidence against that suspect. In 93 per cent of the interviews some form of evidence disclosure was made by the interviewer; this was usually achieved by referring to the evidence indirectly rather than explicitly.

Originality/value

Although such disclosures of information seemed to have little impact on suspects' decisions to confess, this study illustrates the important role of evidence in the suspect interviewing process.

Details

The British Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6646

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 March 2008

Justin Ready, Michael D. White and Christopher Fisher

This paper sets out to encompass a comparative analysis of news reports and official police records of TASER deployments from 2002 to 2005.

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper sets out to encompass a comparative analysis of news reports and official police records of TASER deployments from 2002 to 2005.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology involves a content analysis of all LexisNexis and New York Times articles involving police use of the TASER during the study period (n = 353). Regional (New York Times) and national (LexisNexis) news reports describing police use of the TASER are compared with police reports of all TASER deployments by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) during the same timeframe (n = 375).

Findings

Descriptive statistics and logistic regression are used to compare the data sources with respect to: the circumstances in which the weapon is deployed; the characteristics of the suspects involved in the TASER incidents; and the significant predictors of continued suspect resistance and repeated use of the TASER by an officer.

Research limitations/implications

The paper examines official police records on TASER deployments from one police agency. This limits the ability to generalize the research findings to other police agencies that have adopted different practices and policies regulating the deployment of CEDs. Additionally, the content analysis includes only articles in the mainstream print media.

Practical implications

The paper concludes with a discussion about some myths associated with news reports on police use of the TASER, and their potential impact on both public perception and police practices.

Originality/value

To date, research has not systematically compared media representations of the TASER with official reports on police deployments of the weapon. That is the focus of this paper.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Otto M.J. Adang and Jos Mensink

The paper presents data on street trials held with pepper spray in four police forces in The Netherlands and compares these with other research findings, specifically with…

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Abstract

The paper presents data on street trials held with pepper spray in four police forces in The Netherlands and compares these with other research findings, specifically with regard to the safety and effectiveness of pepper spray and the position of pepper spray in the use‐of‐force continuum. There is little doubt that the use of Oleoresin Capsicum can be a real bonus in situations where suspects have some sort of impact weapon or are violent. However, designating pepper spray as the preferred option in situations where suspects are verbally resistive seems unreasonable and could even be seen as a form of abuse. The solution to safe and responsible police interventions in potentially dangerous situations should not be sought one‐sidedly in technology, but also in improving tactical and technical skills of police officers.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Jason Roach and Robin Bryant

In England and Wales, on average one child every week is a victim of homicide. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether different victim-risk profiles and suspect

Abstract

Purpose

In England and Wales, on average one child every week is a victim of homicide. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether different victim-risk profiles and suspect variables can be differentiated for specific victim ages.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a preliminary analysis of more than 1,000 child homicides committed in England and Wales between 1996 and 2013, from data provided through the Homicide Index. Statistical techniques such as cluster analysis were used to identify specific victim-risk profiles and to analyse suspect variables according to the age of victim.

Findings

The findings present a clearer picture of the risk-age relationship in child homicide, whereby several specific risk profiles are identified for specific child ages, comprised of crime variables including; likely victim and suspect demographics, the most likely circumstances of the homicide and methods of killing. Using similar techniques, a number of tentative clusters of suspects implicated in child homicide are also described and analysed, with suggestions of further analysis that might prove of value.

Practical implications

The practical implications cannot be understated. For those professionals working in the fields of child protection and criminal investigation the identification of risk profiles promises to provide a back-cloth with which to practice when confronted with complex and distressing child homicide scenarios. This research promises most to those currently training in related professions.

Originality/value

Although the statistical level of risk has been linked with the age of a child (with younger children being most vulnerable to killing by a parent or step-parent and older children most vulnerable to killing by acquaintances and strangers), extant research is yet to progress beyond the identification of broad age-risk categories. The paper concludes with a discussion of the likely implications for those charged with reducing and investigating child homicide and outlines the possibility of future research.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 August 2007

Michael R. Smith, Robert J. Kaminski, Jeffrey Rojek, Geoffrey P. Alpert and Jason Mathis

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of police use of conducted energy devices (CEDs) on officer and suspect injuries while controlling for other types of…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of police use of conducted energy devices (CEDs) on officer and suspect injuries while controlling for other types of force and resistance and other factors.

Design/methodology/approach

Data on 1,645 use‐of‐force incidents occurring between January 1, 2002 and July 2006 were obtained from two different law enforcement agencies. Logistic and generalized ordered logistic regressions are used to model the odds of injury and severity of injury.

Findings

The use of CEDs was associated with reduced odds of officer and suspect injury and the severity of suspect injury in one agency. In the other agency CED use was unrelated to the odds of injury; however, the use of pepper spray was associated with reduced odds of suspect injury. Among other findings, in both agencies the use of hands‐on tactics by police was associated with increased odds of officer and suspect injury, while the use of canines was associated with increased odds of suspect injury.

Research limitations/implications

Although this research was carried out in two distinctly different law enforcement agencies with different histories of CED adoption, the fact that CED use was associated with reductions in injuries in one agency but not the other indicates the need for additional research on the impact of CED use in other settings

Practical implications

The analysis suggests that relative to other forms of force, the use of CEDs and pepper spray can reduce the risk of injury to both suspects and law enforcement officers. This information should prove useful to law enforcement agencies considering adopting CEDs and suggests that agencies should consider the use of these less lethal alternatives in place of hands‐on tactics against actively resistant suspects.

Originality/value

At the time of this writing there was no published independent research on the risks of injury associated with CED use in field settings. The findings reported herein will help inform the public debate on the utility of CEDs for law enforcement.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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