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Relationship Between Job Status, Interviewing Experience, Gender, and Police Officers' Adherence to Open-Ended Questions

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume: 14 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2009 Pages: 51-63
Rebecca M. Smith; Martine B. Powell; Jarrad Lum
Date Published
February 2009
13 pages
A study was conducted examining whether several factors related to the job and demographic profile of police officers were associated with adherence to best-practice guidelines when interviewing children.
Findings indicate that adherence to open-ended questioning is largely the by-product of good training rather than personal attributes or job experience per se. The recentness of formal training was the only factor in this study to predict interviewers’ adherence to best-practice interview guidelines. The findings also imply that for training to be effective, it needs to be ongoing. Forensic interviewing of children is a complex task that involves a broad array of skills and competencies. Experts agree that the most critical skill in interviewing children is the ability to maintain the use of non-leading open-ended questions. This study sought to test the assumption within police organizations that experience in the field of child abuse investigation is positively associated with adherence to best-practice interview techniques, and that current internal supervision procedures impact performance, and test the assumption that females and those with exposure to young children outside the workplace have an advantage over their peers in adhering to best-practice interviewing. Study participants consisted of more than 150 police employees who work in the area of child abuse investigation. Tables and references