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Om sanningen skall fram: polisförhör med misstänkta för grova brott
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Police Education.
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
If truth be known : police interviews with suspects of serious crime (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis has explored the context of police interviews with suspects of serious crimes. Focus group studies, a case study and additional interviews have shown several aspects of information flow, decision making, interviewing tactics, human rights and tacit knowledge as these interviews are planned, performed and evaluated.

The informants, homicide investigators, describe their work as an information generating and information evaluating process. They apply a series of methods, e. g. different forms of tactics in the use of investigative information during the police interviews. Based on the informants’ description and the case study, their methods seem to have research evidence in general, where such is available. The informants specifically stress the important role of planning and evaluation.

The investigative process generates a vast amount of situations where decision making is needed. In these, the bases for the decisions are mainly the information flow of the investigation, which tends to be obscure and in constant change. The investigators’ decision making is thereby exposed to the risk of confirmation bias. The informants express an ambition to work objectively and to presume the suspects’ innocence. However, this generates a psychological conflict, which might affect the human rights of the suspect in negative ways. The informants describe several ways to handle this conflict.

The informants describe that they have several concerns when making decisions. These can be categorized as legal, organizational and tactical concerns. Taken together, legal rule conflicts and the organizational ambition to lead the investigators in a target oriented way using quantitative measures, result in strong incitements for investigations to be finalized when they are good enough, rather than when they are good.

The informants describe their profession as one where it is possible to develop expertise and where tacit knowledge plays an important role. When previous research on tacit knowledge is combined with the interview results, there seems to be a level between the tacit and the explicit knowledge. I have called this low-key knowledge. This low-key knowledge can be verbalized in the proper context in communication among those initiated in the subject at hand. The low-key knowledge also seems to risk being over-voiced in certain contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2013. , 307 p.
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 117/2013
Keyword [en]
police interview, interrogation, police investigation, human rights, tacit knowledge, policing, decision making, confirmation bias
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Poliskunskap
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-23787ISBN: 978-91-87427-06-0OAI: diva2:600936
Public defence
2013-03-08, Myrdal, Hus K, Växjö, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-01-28 Created: 2013-01-28 Last updated: 2014-10-30Bibliographically approved

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Kronkvist, Ola
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