Police victim and witness interviewing in a Northern Canadian territory: measuring perceptions and practice

Kate Chenier, Becky Milne, Andie Shawyer, Brent Snook

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Police victim and witness interviewing in a northern Canadian territory with a predominantly Indigenous population was examined across two studies. In Study 1, an internet survey about interview training, practices, and cross-cultural issues was completed by serving police officers (N = 37). In Study 2, transcripts of interviews with Indigenous adult victims and witnesses (N = 20) were coded for the presence of various interviewing practices (e.g., question types, interruptions, talking time). Survey results showed that most officers were untrained in scientific interviewing protocols but were aware of the general practices that constitute a competent interview (e.g., building rapport, requesting a free narrative). Most respondents indicated that cultural differences impact their interviewing style. Results of the transcript analysis showed that
officers violated the 80/20 talking rule in 90% of the interviews and unproductive question types (e.g., closed yes/no) were used often. All interviews contained a request for a full account, most interviews contained elements of active listening, and few interruptions were observed. These findings are discussed with reference to how interviewing and cross-cultural communication
training could help police organizations who serve Indigenous populations. Future research should consider whether established international best practices for interviewing are effective in settings with Indigenous victims and witnesses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Early online date7 Dec 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 7 Dec 2020


  • Cross-cultural
  • Evaluation
  • Indigenous population
  • Police
  • Training
  • Witness interviewing


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