Hamida Zekiroski1, Rachel Gerrie1, Martine Powell1,
1Centre for Investigative Interviewing, Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
Interviewing witnesses of crime is a central plank in frontline police work. Therefore, officers must be skilled in eliciting the highest quality and quantity of information from the witness. Decades of research has shown that the use of open-ended, non-leading questions elicit the most accurate, elaborate statements from witnesses. We also know that quality of training accounts for most of the variance in non-leading open-ended question use (which is the main indicator of interview quality). This study examined the association between crime type and adherence to open-ended questioning (i.e., best-practice interviewing) in 38 frontline police officers from an Australian jurisdiction enrolled in an investigative interviewing training course. Proportion of open-ended questions was compared across five different stages of skill acquisition. Results showed significant differences in open-ended question usage asked across crime types in many of the assessment positions. The implication of these results, and recommendations for future research, are discussed.
Hamida Zekiroski is a researcher and trainer for the Centre for Investigative Interviewing and assists with the management and implementation of a comprehensive investigative interviewing training course for frontline police. She is currently completing a PhD on the utility of mock interviews in police training programs.