Creativity in policing: building the necessary skills to solve complex and protracted investigations

Staines, Zoe (2011) Creativity in policing: building the necessary skills to solve complex and protracted investigations. Home team journal, pp. 133-144.

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Abstract

Despite an increased focus on proactive policing in recent years, criminal investigation is still perhaps the most important task of any law enforcement agency. As a result, the skills required to carry out a successful investigation or to be an ‘effective detective’ have been subjected to much attention and debate (Smith and Flanagan, 2000; Dean, 2000; Fahsing and Gottschalk, 2008:652). Stelfox (2008:303) states that “The service’s capacity to carry out investigations comprises almost entirely the expertise of investigators.” In this respect, Dean (2000) highlighted the need to profile criminal investigators in order to promote further understanding of the cognitive approaches they take to the process of criminal investigation. As a result of his research, Dean (2000) produced a theoretical framework of criminal investigation, which included four disparate cognitive or ‘thinking styles’. These styles were the ‘Method’, ‘Challenge’, ‘Skill’ and ‘Risk’. While the Method and Challenge styles deal with adherence to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and the internal ‘drive’ that keeps an investigator going, the Skill and Risk styles both tap on the concept of creativity in policing. It is these two latter styles that provide the focus for this paper.

This paper presents a brief discussion on Dean’s (2000) Skill and Risk styles before giving an overview of the broader literature on creativity in policing. The potential benefits of a creative approach as well as some hurdles which need to be overcome when proposing the integration of creativity within the policing sector are then discussed. Finally, the paper concludes by proposing further research into Dean’s (2000) skill and risk styles and also by stressing the need for significant changes to the structure and approach of the traditional policing organisation before creativity in policing is given the status it deserves.

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ID Code: 50298
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Keywords: Creativity in policing, Knowledge management, Investigative thinking styles, Tacit investigative knowledge
ISSN: 2010-0167
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Ministry of Home Affairs
Copyright Statement: No part of this publication (i.e. content and images) may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, scanning, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Deposited On: 15 May 2012 02:53
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2012 09:51

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