Thursday, September 12, 2019

Influence of experience on the performance of police criminal risk assessment of juveniles: Significantly higher accuracy of risk assessment, but accuracy did not increase with experience

Influence of experience on the performance of police criminal risk assessment of juvenile offenders. Barbara Bergmann. Forensische Psychiatrie, Psychologie, Kriminologie, Jul 2 2019.

Abstract: Police officers working in the field of juvenile crime have to assess the criminal risk of young offenders before admitting them into a special police program for chronic offenders. Their performance of this task, which is mostly based on mere experience, has so far been unclear. The following study examined the process of criminal risk assessment in the police context and tested if performance increases with growing experience. The test sample consisted of 85 police officers and 60 undergraduate psychology students as laypersons. The task was to examine fictitious case vignettes of young criminals and rate their risk of further offences. Performance was measured by accuracy of the given rating and the time needed to evaluate each vignette. Results showed a significantly higher accuracy of risk assessment made by police officers when compared to laypersons; however, within the group of police officers the accuracy did not increase with experience. Nevertheless, particularly experienced police officers seemed to use a more efficient strategy as they considered less information for their assessment and thus needed less time to come to a conclusion. These findings indicate an advanced information processing due to experience resulting in a reduction of the cognitive workload and time needed for the assessment.

Keywords: Risk assessment Police Expertise Youth crime Information processing

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