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The Cognitive Interview: novice police officers' witness/victim interviewing practices

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The objective of this study was to investigate novice police officers' witness interview practices immediately post investigative interview training (known as PEACE) with reference to the eight Cognitive Interview (CI) components taught. Forty-eight UK police officers took part as interviewers. Forty-eight undergraduates participated as mock witness; they viewed a non-violent crime video and 2 days later were individually interviewed by a police officer. Interviews were recorded and rated for officers' application of the CI procedure. Despite having recently completed the only training available to them no officer applied or attempted to apply the CI procedure in its entirety. However, some of the individual CI components were applied more frequently than others. This study provides a unique insight into the interviewing practices of some of the least researched, least experienced, and least trained investigative interviewers who, nonetheless, conduct witness interviews on a daily basis. The emergent picture suggests that either the CI procedure currently taught to novice police officers is too complex at so early a stage in their police career and/or that the current training may be insufficient to equip them with the skills necessary to effectively apply the procedure.
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Keywords: Cognitive Interview; police officers; witness interviewing practices

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Lancaster University, Fylde College, Bailrigg, Lancaster, UK 2: Department of Psychology, London South Bank University, London, UK 3: Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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