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How to identify and employ top performing crime-scene examiners (and why it matters in criminal justice) Dr. Sally Kelty & Assoc.Prof.

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Presentation on theme: "How to identify and employ top performing crime-scene examiners (and why it matters in criminal justice) Dr. Sally Kelty & Assoc.Prof."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to identify and employ top performing crime-scene examiners (and why it matters in criminal justice) Dr. Sally Kelty & Assoc.Prof. Roberta Julian Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia Applied Research in Crime and Justice Conference, Sydney February 2013

2 What was Known About Top Performance in Crime Scene Examination (CSE) Poor crime scene work is one contributory factor to miscarriages of justice and ineffective police investigations. In the UK – 25% of CSEs collect higher quality evidence as compared to their peers (2007 SWIM report findings) In US – 2009 National Academy of Science (NAS) report noted wide variance in performance of CSEs. We were interested in who good CSEs were and why some out perform their peers. –The SWIM report did not provide details on why some CSEs excel –Was it their training? Their previous work experience? Their motivation/commitment to the job?

3 Methods Used to Identify Top CSEs Between groups design – 4 groups across 5 state jurisdictions CSE and forensic scientists (colleagues/peers) Senior detectives from volume and serious crime The top performing CSEs from each of the States Supervisors Established job analytical techniques (mixed method approach) Focus groups/interviews Repertory grid Psychometric test battery Triangulation of methods to increase validity/reliability of results Data and investigator triangulation Theoretical and methodological triangulation

4 Methods Used to Indentify Top CSEs CSE managers/ supervisors CSE peers Police investigators Top 18 Performing CSEs (across 5 states)

5 Data Analysis & Results Two step analysis Qualitative sequential content and cluster analysis Quantitative analysis using SPSS Results A critical skill-set was clearly identified The skills clustered into seven discrete groupings. Psychometric profile showed distinct differences between top CSEs and general population samples.

6 Using clustering we found 7 key attributes that differentiated top CSEs from their peers. Knowledge Base Experience Cognitive Abilities Work Orientation Approach to Life Communication Skills Professional demeanour & emotional management The 7 key Attributes

7 Knowledge Base University degree (not necessarily sciences/ forensic science) Legal, policing and investigation (holistic) knowledge Knowledge of scientific principles Experience Community policing crime scene to court or Service industry or critical incidents (real life experience) Maturity (not age, but lived experiences, not closeted) Cognitive Abilities Lateral thinker, curious, open to new ideas Objective, considered and consequential decision making Good multi-tasking and short and long term planning skills Approach to life Fitness/health orientation and positive about life Clear life/work separation with social/family support The 7 key Attributes

8 Work Orientation Good time-management Dedication to role (goes beyond job description) Self-motivated, persistent and patient, results driven Communication skills Active listener. Good negotiation/ assertive interpersonal skills Inclusive and team orientated (teacher/trainers and mentors) High level written and verbal skills Professional demeanour & emotional management Ignores pettiness & internal politics, respected among peers Willing to defend decisions Admits errors and learns from mistakes Not judgemental, not easily influenced by other factors/people Consistent, grounded and stress resilient The 7 key Attributes

9 The Action Control Scale (ACS-90; Diefendorff, Hall, Lord & Strean, 2000) is a 22-item self-report scale that assesses an individuals ability to make timely decisions, commit to a course of action, avoid procrastination, persist in tasks despite setbacks and handle multiple competing demands. Evaluation of the ACS = 205 Marketing post-graduate students. The General Self-Efficacy Scale Revised (GSE; Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995) Evaluation of the GSE in a pooled sample of over 18,000 adults = a stable sense of personal competence and mastery to deal effectively with a variety of stressful situations. The Connor-Davidson Resilience scale (CD-RISC; Connor & Davidson, 2003) Evaluation of the CD-RISC in a sample of 577 adults = measures resilience to negative situations and successful stress-coping ability. The DASS-21 (Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995) Evaluation of each of the DASS scales in a sample of 307 adults = Higher scores on the stress subscale are indicative of symptoms such as being tense, irritable, easily emotionally disturbed.. Psychometric Tests used

10 Psychometric Profile of Top CSEs

11 Why policing / other agencies should invest in hiring high-calibre CSEs Benefits of expanding resources into a targeted recruitment package – four distinct benefits The potential to lower high attrition rates by hiring staff that are potentially more stress resilient Employing personnel with the scientific knowledge and ability to collect higher quality evidence from crime scenes that in turn will reduce the risk of miscarriages of justice Removing additional occupational stress for existing top performer CSEs Reducing potential for organisational liability for poor recruitment practices

12 Turning research into policy Changes to Victoria Police recruitment practices May 2012 an interactive workshop outlining the results was held at Victoria Police (CSEs and senior management attended) Amendments are being made to internal practices within VICPOL to recruit new CSEs informed by the research and the 7 key attributes. Changes to Australian Federal Police recruitment practices November 2012 commenced a collaborative research project to develop a multi-stage recruitment package based upon the 7 key attributes for recruitment of entry level CSEs Package to include interview, single and group tasks, medical, psychometric testing Currently trialling a psychometric battery including the Ravens Progressive Matrices and the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Assessment. Currently developing a virtual crime scene program as one of the interview assessment tasks (in collaboration with the National institute of Forensic Science, NIFS)

13 The Draft Recruitment Model

14 Elements of The Draft Recruitment Model Selection Criteria (examples, can be addressed in written format by applicants)

15 Where to from here? Further interest in the recruitment research: -UK - Keith Fryer, Head of Forensic Centre, National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) (now College of Policing) -US – working with NIFS and NIJ to develop After the Fact virtual crime scenes (for recruitment and training) - the next pathway is into career progression -employing good people at entry levels does not mean they need less training -there is a need for a focused career pathway to enhance these skills -we are working with AFP to follow this up

16 References Adderley, R., and J.W. Bond The effects of deprivation on the time spent examining crime scenes and the recovery of DNA and fingerprints. Journal of Forensic Sciences 53(1): 178–182. Kelty, S.F. (2012). Professionalism in Crime Scene Examination: Recruitment strategies using the seven key attributes of top crime scene examiners. Forensic Science Policy and Management. 2(4): Kelty, S.F, R. Julian, and J. Robertson Professionalism in crime scene investigation: The seven key attributes of top performing crime scene examiners. Forensic Science Policy and Management 2(4): 175– 186. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Strengthening forensic science in the United States: A path forward. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

17 Acknowledgements and Thanks We acknowledge the support of the Australian Research Council (LP ) Thank you to Linkage Partners Victoria Police, ACT Policing, Australian Federal Police Forensic and Data Centres, the National Institute of Forensic Science and Forensic Foundations for funding this collaborative research project. The research team for this project include social scientists from The Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES) and the University of Tasmania together with forensic science researchers from University of Technology, Sydney, University of Canberra and the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. For more information about the project please see: The Effectiveness of Forensic Science in the Criminal Justice System.

18 Questions ?

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