The training and individual development of specialist witness interviewers: an exploration of the value of this process

Piper, Colin Michael (2014) The training and individual development of specialist witness interviewers: an exploration of the value of this process. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Vulnerable people have long experienced problems engaging fully with the criminal justice system, frequently as a result of difficulties in effectively communicating what they have experienced or witnessed. This has led to negative expectations about the quality and credibility of the evidence vulnerable people can give. One response to this situation has been the training of police Specialist Witness Interviewers to undertake what can be complex and often challenging interviews with the most vulnerable victims and witnesses during criminal investigations. The aim of this dissertation was to explore and evaluate the training and individual development opportunities available to such interviewers within Hampshire Constabulary. During this small-scale study semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of six Specialist Witness Interviewers, focusing on their perceptions of the two week thematic course and subsequent workplace assessment and development phase of this training. Analysis of the interviews in conjunction with supporting literature indicated that although practically based initial training is effective in the short term, participants placed significant emphasis on their time spent with an expert mentor from the Specialist Training department embedding and developing newly learnt interviewing skills. In contrast, participants who had not had worked with a mentor following the course felt disappointed and disadvantaged. They expressed concern that they had not achieved their full potential without the time and support to embed the learning and consequently were less confident about the role they had undertaken. The implications of these findings for interviews with vulnerable people and for future specialist training are considered. The research conclusions suggest the investment of organisational time and resources are essential to ensure the most effective specialist training and development is available to interviewers, thereby improving the chances vulnerable people have to engage with the criminal justice system.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Education and Childhood Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2015 15:03
    Last Modified: 16 Jul 2015 15:03

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