• 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.
    • Interviewing suspects: examining the association between skills, questioning, evidence disclosure, and interview outcomes

      Walsh, Dave; Bull, Ray; University of Derby (2015-04-09)
      The interviewing of suspects is an important element in the investigation of crime. However, studies concerning actual performance of investigators when undertaking such interviews remain sparse. Nevertheless, in England and Wales, since the introduction of a prescribed framework over 20 years ago, field studies have generally shown an improvement in interviewing performance, notwithstanding ongoing concerns largely relating to the more demanding aspects (such as building/maintaining rapport, intermittent summarising and the logical development of topics). Using a sample of 70 real-life interviews, the present study examined questioning and various evidence disclosure strategies (which have also been found demanding), examining their relationships between interview skills and interview outcomes. It was found that when evidence was disclosed gradually (but revealed later), interviews were generally both more skilled and involved the gaining of comprehensive accounts, whereas when evidence was disclosed either early or very late, interviews were found to be both less skilled and less likely to involve this outcome. These findings contribute towards an increased research base for the prescribed framework.
    • One way or another? Criminal investigators' beliefs regarding the disclosure of evidence in interviews with suspects in England and Wales

      Walsh, Dave; Milne, Becky; Bull, Ray; University of Derby (Springer, 2015-07-11)
      The research base concerning interviews with suspects remains to be comprehensively developed. For example, the extant literature provides differing views regarding how best to undertake the important interview task of disclosing evidence. In the current study, using a self-report questionnaire, 224 investigators based in England and Wales were asked as to their own preferred methods. Most respondents advocated a gradual method of disclosing evidence, stating that this approach would better reveal inconsistencies and obtain a complete version of events (similar to the reasoning of those who preferred disclosing evidence later). Those who advocated revealing evidence early stated this approach would more likely elicit confessions. Several respondents would not commit to one single method, arguing that their chosen strategy was contextually dependent. The study’s findings suggest that it remains arguable as to whether there is one best approach to evidence disclosure and/or whether particular circumstances should influence interviewing strategies.
    • Planning ahead? An exploratory study of South Korean Investigators' beliefs about their planning for investigative interviews of suspects.

      Kim, Jihwan; Walsh, Dave; Bull, Ray; Bergstrøm, Henriette; University of Derby (Springer, 2017-11-16)
      Preparation and planning has been argued to be vitally important as to how effectively investigators undertake their interviews with suspects. Yet it has also been found in previous research that investigators admit that they plan only occasionally, often attributing insufficient time as reason for not undertaking the task. Employing a novel research paradigm that utilized theoretical foundations concerning planning, the present study explored empirically 95 South Korean financial crime investigators’ views, using a self-administered questionnaire. Through the use of second generation statistical modelling, an understanding was developed of the relative relationships between various concepts (which had themselves emerged from an established theoretical framework of planning that had been further extended to accommodate the context of the present study) The study found that perceived time pressures actually showed a very low association with interview planning. Rather, investigators self-belief as to their own capability alongside workplace culture were each found to have stronger associations with investigators’ intentions to plan for their interviews. As such, we argue that there should be more focus on improving occupational culture relating to interview planning, while developing training programs that identify, evaluate and enhance investigators’ planning skills. Implications for practice are therefore discussed.
    • 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.