Police Personality: found that police are more conservative and conventional - personality changes with experience (coping mechanism?). Austin et al tested this by looking at measures of authoritarism at retired police officers - they found no change even after 2 years away.
determining and processing suspects: - police more likely to arrest certain types of people. - police practices ethnocentric. - 'canteen culture' - people who have had contact with police more likely to be fearful of them.
- 'cognitive interview' - technique used to reveal details of an event that a witness has difficulty recalling.
Gudjonsson and Aldam (1983)
Aim: investigate police personalities.
Sample: 4 different groups of police officers; probation (18 months exp.), new recruits, constables and seniour officers (20 years exp.)
Procedure: 2 psychometric tests: eysenck personality questionnaire - 3 scales: psychoticism, Neuroticism and extraversion. I5 test - 3 scales: impulsiveness, venturesomeness and empathy.
Results: recruits -high on Ex, Imp and Vent, low on Psy. Probation - low on Ex and Emp. Experienced constables and seniour officers - very low on Imp, Vent, Emp and Psy
Conclusions: recruits reflect police as exciting/stimulating job. Results change with Exp - sobering effect/only certain types of recruits stay in job. police culture incouraging low Emp or coping mechanism. police score below average on psychoticism.
McConville, sanders and Leng (1991)
- Authors observed/interviewed police officers at different stages of the prosecution/ decision making process.
- when suspect is arrested, police can: prosecute, caution, no further action. Reasons police don't prosecute:complaint withdrawl, not sure of guilt, police beleive offence doesn't deserve prosecution, protect informant, avoid paperwork, beleive case wont stand in court/lack of evidence.
-custody officer makes decision - affected by suspect stereotype (more likely to prosecute working class than middle class.) - can't make independant decisions because of a lack of information - they're dependant on arresting officer info.
'cop culture' -experience over 'going by the book'
Milne and Bull (2003)
- investigative interviewing
Interviewing witnesses/victims: - very important. - training course (PEACE - Planning and Preperation, Engage & Explain, Account, Closure, Evaluate) - incorporates cognitive interview and conversation management.
Interviewing suspects: a lot of criticism - focus tends to be on gaining confession rather than getting facts. PEACE showed clear improvement in ethos and ethics. most suspects uncooperative in interviews. psychological tactics can lead to false confessions. postal questionnaire says alot of suspects feel insulted as human beings by interviewer.
authors conclude that a way to improve standards is appropriate training (PEACE) - training for officers dealing withvulnerablegroups with a skill assessment. 'even with good training, not everyone will become a good interviewer.' - individual differences.