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Where Bias Begins: a Snapshot of Police Officers’ Beliefs About Factors that Influence the Investigative Interview with Suspects

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicole Adams-QuackenbushORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The aim of the current study was to obtain a snapshot of police officer’s beliefs about factors that may influence the outcome of the investigative interview with suspects. We created a 26-item survey that contained statements around three specific themes: best interview practices, confessions and interviewee vulnerabilities. Police officers (N = 101) reported their beliefs on each topic by indicating the level of agreement or disagreement with each statement. The findings indicated that this sample of officers held beliefs that were mostly consistent with the literature. However, many officers also responded in the mid-range (neither agree nor disagree) which may indicate they are open to developing literature-consistent beliefs of the topics. Understanding what officers believe about factors within the investigative interview may have implications for future training. It may also help explain why some officers do not consistently apply best practices (i.e. strong counterfactual beliefs) versus officers who reliably apply literature-consistent practices to their interviews (i.e. knowledge-consistent beliefs).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Adams-Quackenbush NM, Horselenberg R, van Koppen PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

Year: 2019

Volume: 34

Pages: 373-380

Print publication date: 01/12/2019

Online publication date: 10/11/2018

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 24/08/2020

ISSN (print): 0882-0783

ISSN (electronic): 1936-6469

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s11896-018-9301-1


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