Psychology and Policing

Psychology and Policing

Psychology and Policing

Psychology and Policing

Synopsis

Psychological theory and research have much to contribute to the knowledge and skill bases underlying effective policing. Much of the relevant information, however, is dispersed across a variety of different psychological and criminal justice/policing journals and seldom integrated for those applied psychologists interested in policing issues or for police policymakers/administrators and others working in the criminal justice area who are not familiar with the psychological literature.

Designed to accommodate the needs of these different groups, this book addresses both operational policing issues and issues relevant to the improvement of organizational functioning by providing integrative reviews of psychological theory and research that deal with effective policing. It illustrates how the theory and research reviewed are relevant to specific policing practices. These include eyewitness testimony, conflict resolution, changing driver behavior, controlling criminal behavior, effective interviewing, and techniques of face reconstruction. The volume's readable style makes it accessible to a diverse audience including undergraduate and postgraduate students in forensic/organizational/applied psychology, criminal justice, and police science programs, and police administrators and policymakers. It will also interest psychologists whose primary focus includes policing and criminal justice issues. The book should draw attention to the often unrecognized and valuable contribution that mainstream psychology can make to the knowledge base underpinning a wide variety of policing practices.

Excerpt

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks," the old saying goes. Never has this been less true of policing than at present. As social workers, law enforcers, and crisis counselors, police have always had to rely on skills such as bluff, cunning, common sense, their understanding of human behavior, and communication to enforce the law. Traditionally there has been a suspicion of academic solutions, but as more police gain tertiary qualifications and confront the reality that traditional policing doesn't always work, they are looking to a range of new tools to add to their armory. Psychological theory and research provide a number of such tools that can benefit many aspects of policing. The following provides just a few examples.

Psychology is specifically concerned with the study of human behavior, and trying to understand human behavior is now a core component of police training. These days it is imperative that police recognize that negotiation, conflict resolution, cultural awareness, and sensitivity are skills, which are more valuable than the weapons and powers we equip them with. Elsewhere in policing, we have seen interviews of suspects and victims become more sophisticated, particularly with the use of audio and videotaping. But, in an era where police are dealing with sophisticated crime and a legal system that quite properly expects best evidence, it is important that interview techniques, identification tests, and the like are not only fair, but also elicit the maximum amount of accurate information. Psychological research has much to offer in areas such as these. And, at the broader organizational level, as society looks for police recruits who epitomize the community's image of police (i.e., tolerant, patient, perceptive, nonracist, etc.), police services are using psychologists in recruiting to ensure the selection of members of the community who have those particular skills, which allow . . .

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