Evaluation of Forensic Interviews and Interrogations: A Thematic Analysis of Law-Enforcement Views

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Purpose: Effective forensic interviewing is crucial, particularly if the interview is the only source of evidence. Whilst there are a number of interview models that advocate for reflective practice, the evaluation of interviews rarely gets the time or attention it deserves. This is concerning, given that interviewer skills drop significantly after six months, and there are limited opportunities for refresher training. This study aims to explore how law enforcement officers reflect upon and evaluate their interviews and seek their insight into what they believe an effective evaluation tool would constitute. 

Design/methodology/approach: A total of 32 officers from three police forces in England and Wales and six international security organisations completed a qualitative questionnaire that explored their views on how interview evaluation is conducted and the impact on the interview, and how technology could assist in this important stage in terms of usability, efficacy and capability of a new evaluation tool. 

Findings: Thematic analysis was used, resulting in three overall themes being identified from the data. These focused on current evaluation methods, barriers to conducting evaluations and technological solutions. 

Originality/value: The findings are discussed in relation to interviewing and the development of tools to assist in evaluations. Implications for practice include the need for much more effort to be put into (re)introducing the evaluation stage into training to ensure that officers are allowed to reflect upon and evaluate their interview performance.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Criminal Psychology
Early online date16 Jul 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2024

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