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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Vulnerable suspects in police interviews: exploring current practice in England and Wales

Farrugia, Laura and Gabbert, Fiona (2019) Vulnerable suspects in police interviews: exploring current practice in England and Wales. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 17 (1). pp. 17-30. ISSN 1544-4767

Item Type: Article


Mentally disordered individuals are increasingly coming into contact with the police. The current study explored investigative interview practice with mentally disordered suspects to examine how they respond, and the impact this has on the level of information obtained. Transcripts of interviews conducted with vulnerable and non-vulnerable suspects (N = 66) were analysed using a specially designed coding framework. Results highlighted that best practice is generally not being adhered to regarding questioning techniques (for example, the use of open questions). Furthermore, while police officers altered their communication to suit the needs of the vulnerable suspect, they were also more likely to use minimisation tactics. Mentally disordered suspects sought more clarification for open questions and provided more information to closed questions. They also demonstrated higher levels of vulnerability (suggestibility and compliance) when compared to their non-vulnerable counterparts. Implications regarding interviewing methods for this vulnerable group are discussed.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: mental disorder, vulnerability, suspect, police interviews
Depositing User: Laura Farrugia


Item ID: 11107
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1544-4767
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Laura Farrugia: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2019 11:39
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2020 03:38


Author: Laura Farrugia ORCID iD
Author: Fiona Gabbert

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology



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