• Evaluating interviews which search for the truth with suspects: but are investigators’ self-assessments of their own skills truthful ones?

      Walsh, Dave; King, Mick; Griffiths, Andy; University of Derby; Department of Social Sciences, University of Derby, Derby, UK; Department of Social Sciences, University of Derby, Derby, UK; Department of Social Sciences, University of Derby, Derby, UK (Taylor and Francis, 2017-03-09)
      Self-evaluation of one’s own performance has been found in prior research to be an enabler of professional development. The task of evaluation is also a core component of a model of the investigative interviewing of victims, witnesses and suspects, being increasingly used throughout the world. However, it remains the case that there has been little research as to how practitioners approach the task itself. The present study examined the topic through the lens of observing how effectively 30 real-life investigators in the UK undertook evaluation of their interviews, representing almost the entire investigative frontline workforce of a small law enforcement agency in this country. Using an established scale of measurement, both investigators’ and an expert’s ratings of the same sample of interviews were compared across a range of tasks and behaviours. It was found that in almost all the assessed behaviours, requiring of the investigators to provide a self-rating, their scores tended to significantly outstrip those applied to the sample by the expert. Reasons are explored for the investigators’ overstated assessments. Implications for practice are then discussed.
    • Examining the effects of violence and personality on eyewitness memory

      Pajón, Laura; Walsh, Dave; University of Derby; Department of Social Sciences, University of Derby, Derby, UK; Department of Social Sciences, University of Derby, Derby, UK (Taylor and Francis, 2017-05-24)
      Witnesses play a key role in criminal investigations. Research in estimator variables has aided criminal justice practitioners to estimate, post hoc, the likelihood of obtaining accurate testimony from a specific witness. Nonetheless, only a few studies have examined how violence and personality influence memory. The present study examines both variables with a student sample (N = 53). Participants were randomly divided between those who viewed a crime involving physical violence (n = 24) and those who watched an event that did not include physical violence (n = 29). Results found that physical violence increased the quantity of information recalled, and Honesty personality domain was positively correlated with memory performance. Nonetheless, the relationship between personality domains and memory performance appeared to be influenced and modified by the presence of physical violence. Under violent conditions personality domains of Emotionality and Openness appeared to be related with decreased memory accuracy, whereas Contentiousness appeared to be related with increased memory accuracy. This study enables a clearer picture to emerge of the effect that violence and personality have on memory and seeds the idea that claiming linear relationships between estimator variables and memory may be over-simplistic as variables appeared to be related among them when influencing eyewitness memory.
    • Qualitative analysis of qualitative evaluation: an exploratory examination of investigative interviewers’ reflections on their performance

      Griffiths, Andy; Walsh, Dave; University of Derby; Department of Social Sciences, University of Derby, Derby, UK; Department of Social Sciences, University of Derby, Derby, UK (Taylor and Francis, 2017-10-12)
      Self-evaluation of interviews conducted by law enforcement professionals is a principal feature of a prescribed interview framework in England and Wales, underpinning their practice development. However, self-evaluation has been found in prior research to be neglected. Building on our recent study (which found that interviewers regularly over-rated themselves, when compared to our independent ratings), the same interviewers assessed their interview skills by way of completing an extensive reflective log. We found that those we regarded as skilled in our prior study tended to be more accurate in identifying their strengths and areas for improvement, while planning to correct such shortfalls in their future practice. On the other hand, those we had earlier rated as least skilled tended to be much less reflective, being both descriptive and inaccurate in their understanding of key interview tasks. They also remained inaccurate concerning their own interview skills, failing to be prospective in planning to improve their skills. As such, while reflective logs appear to be, for skilled interviewers, both a prompt for accurate self-assessment and a catalyst for planning further professional development, we also caution that such tools need further refinement to achieve the same goals for those either less reflective or less skilled.