The role of police investigative processes in causing miscarriages of justice

Wendy J. Koen, Sam Poyser, Rebecca Milne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter analyzes the links between the police investigative process and miscarriages of justice. After an overview of the systemic police corruption that led to the Rampart scandal in Los Angeles in the late 1990s, the chapter focuses primarily on the UK policing context, detailing what psychological research has taught us about how the investigative process may contribute to causing miscarriages and how recommendations derived from this research have helped to reform policing policy and practice. It will then outline what the authors mean when they refer to a ‘miscarriage of justice.' It briefly considers the causes of miscarriages, particularly acknowledging the links between many of these and the police investigative process. The chapter next discusses the dynamics, difficulties, and pressures involved in police investigation, how they may relate to miscarriages, and the place of police culture in this mix. Focusing upon issues surrounding (1) investigative case-building, (2) interview practices, and (3) identification procedures, the chapter then specifically pinpoints how psychological research has aided our understanding of the causes of miscarriages linked to police investigation and how it has helped to improve investigative practices and processes in the United Kingdom.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Psychology and Sociology of Wrongful Convictions
Subtitle of host publicationForensic Science Reform
EditorsWendy J. Koen, C. Michael Bowers
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages41
ISBN (Electronic)9780128026557
ISBN (Print)9780128027028
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2018


  • identification evidence
  • investigative practices
  • miscarriage of justice
  • noble cause corruption
  • police culture
  • Rampart
  • Raphael Perez


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