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Towards a more effective detective

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The characteristics that detectives believe are required to be an ‘effective detective’ were explored in this study. A Repertory Grid Technique and Critical Incident Technique were used to explore in detail the views of experienced detectives (N = 30) from five different police services in Australia and New Zealand about what makes an effective detective. The findings suggest that detectives hold a complex and challenging role that requires 11 key skills. By far, the most important factor was communication skills, particularly how to communicate effectively with a variety of people varying from victims and suspects to colleagues and scientific experts. High levels of motivation and thoroughness closely followed communication as essential skills. The implications of these findings for the recruitment, training and management of detectives are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPolicing and Society
Issue number1
Early online date30 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Towards_a_more_effective_detective

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy on 30/04/2014, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 257 KB, PDF document

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