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Psychological Profiling of Australian Police Officers: A Longitudinal Examination of Post-Selection Performance

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science & Management Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: Summer 2006 Pages: 143-152
Jonathan Lough; Michael Ryan
Date Published
10 pages
This study extends recent research (Lough and Ryan, 2005) on the performance of the Australian Institute of Forensic Psychology's (AIFP's) system for screening police applicants by examining the same two cohorts of Tasmanian police officers over a 2-year period, including data on notable on-the-record incidents.
The study found that the group of officers assessed with detailed psychological profiling as part of their pre-employment testing consistently outperformed the group of officers who did not receive such screening; four of the differences in measures of objective performance were statistically significant. Also, the screened group had a lower drop-out rate, and they were less likely to make serious on-duty errors that resulted in formal action or investigation. These findings suggest that applicants selected under the AIFP psychological profiling system make better officers. These findings combined with those of the previous study indicate that the AIFP profiling system is a reliable means of selecting officers who will perform well and reliably over time. The AIFP system consists of six separate psychological tests and a subsequent structured interview. All of the components have been adapted for Australian conditions, have good reliability and validity, and reflect the norms for Australian policing. This study involved 213 officers who had served for 2 years after being selected under the AIFP system. The group of officers who were not screened under the AIFP system had been selected under the screening system used prior to AIFP screening. This group was evaluated according to performance criteria over the first 2 years of on-duty service. Performance was measured by sick days, stress claims, injury compensation claims, days off, substantiated complaints from the public, internal affairs investigations, and on-duty motor-vehicle accidents. 4 tables and 27 references