Perceptions of benefit fraud staff in the UK: giving P.E.A.C.E. a chance

D. Walsh, Becky Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reports a study concerning perceptions of benefit fraud staff and of management concerning their own interviewing techniques and standards, and their views pertaining to a preferred model of interviewing. Interviewing fraud suspects forms an important task performed by Fraud Investigators (FIs) within the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in the UK. Given this significance, it is surprising that there has been little analysis of the skills used to do this task. Current training consists of a course centred on an interviewing framework called the PEACE model, which was originally developed for police use. The research outlined in this paper examined both FIs and their managers’ perceptions and attitudes of the model and of their own practices. It was found that, while there was general support for the model, reservations were voiced over how effective PEACE may actually be in practice. These reservations centred on insufficient time to prepare for investigations along with a perceived inflexibility over the model’s framework. In, addition, it was highlighted that the absence of any national supervisory framework for investigative interviews should give the organization cause for concern in ensuring standards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-540
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


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