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Title: An examination into the efficacy of police advanced investigative interview training?
Author: Griffiths, Andrew
Awarding Body: University of Portsmouth
Current Institution: University of Portsmouth
Date of Award: 2007
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The history of investigative interviewing in England and Wales has two distinct eras: one before and one after 1992. The era before 1992 was characterised by a lack of training and an over reliance on confessions from suspects, which led to the condemnation of police tactics by the Court of Appeal in high profile cases. Wider psychological research also revealed a general lack of interviewing ability amongst police officers with both suspects and witnesses at this time. This resulted in the introduction of the PEACE interview programme by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in 1992. This was a oneweek national training course for all officers that covered both suspect and witness interviewing. By 2002 the 'one size fits all' approach of the original PEACE model had evolved into a tiered approach for officers dependent on their type of work. This approach included advanced interviewing for certain detectives involved in interviewing suspects and witnesses in major crime cases. The research in this thesis provides the first evaluation of the effectiveness of advanced interviewing through a series of empirical studies that followed a cadre of advanced interviewers through both training and real life interviews. The first study evaluated the training effect of an advanced suspect interview course by examining simulated interviews with suspects conducted before and after training. The second study assessed skills transference from training by examining post-training real life major crime suspect interviews. A third study, longitudinal in nature, then examined real life major crime witness interviews, for which the advanced interviewers had received further training. The fourth study was a qualitative study that focused on the questioning strategies used by the advanced interviewers, while the fifth and final study reported a thematic analysis of the patterns of question usage across different types of investigative interview conducted by interviewers with different levels of training using the Griffiths Question Map (GQM). The results of study 1 demonstrated that before the advanced training course the advanced interviewers were more skilled than other police interviewers. In particular they had good questioning and listening skills. Their weakest areas were rapport building and summarising. After interview training the advanced interviewers improved across all the areas of the interviews and clusters of behaviours analysed showing a strong positive training effect. The results of study 2 were varied. Initially the improvements in skill noted after training did transfer to real life successfully, although rapport building was notably weaker than the other behaviours examined. In addition, over time all behaviours then showed tangible skill erosion with the exception of legal behaviours, topic structure, questioning and listening. Study 3 revealed that the witness interviews conducted by the advanced interviewers were less skilfully executed than the suspect interviews. The advanced interviewers failed to use the enhanced cognitive interview effectively, preferring a conversation management approach which suggested an 'overshadowing' effect from the primary suspect interview training. The deeper examination of questioning strategies used by the advanced interviewers conducted in study 4 demonstrated that this approach to witness interviews was deliberate and reflected a preference for a probing question style regardless of interview situation. The final study identified the patterns of questions that were evident in different types of investigative interviews conducted by interviewers with different levels of training. Using a specially designed tool called the Griffiths Question Map (GQM) the results of study 5 are presented as visual representations of the different patterns of questions that were visible in investigative interviews conducted by interviewers with different levels of skill. The GQM introduces a new and unique method of analysing question use across all types of investigative interview. The final chapter is a discussion of the main findings and includes recommendations for future research. Overall the research studies indicate that advanced interview training does improve the interview ability of police officers. The studies also indicate, however, that further research is required into interview training design, the effect of time on skill and assumptions of competence for the same interviewers across witness and suspect disciplines. Advanced interviewing is a new concept, but one that is essential to the evolution of major crime investigation. This in depth evaluation of an advanced interview training programme makes a significant contribution to both overall knowledge of investigative interviewing and the effectiveness of modern day interview training.
Supervisor: Milne, Rebecca Jane Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available