Conflict of Interest in an Investigation:
White Collar Crime Enforcement – A Changing Landscape
The challenges of investigating and prosecuting white-collar crime are many and complex. Certain aspects of Ireland's law enforcement framework are undergoing reform to better enable the State agencies tasked with enforcement to fulfil their mandates in the fight against financial crime. This is a current focus area for the Government, with new legislation on the statute books to streamline the criminal justice process and a number of practical changes coming down the tracks to strengthen the arsenal of State law enforcement agencies.
This webinar will explore issues including:
Conducting an investigative interview is a complex procedure. For the process to be effective, police interviewers must balance creating rapport with eliciting and writing down (either contemporaneously, or from handwritten notes) relevant and valid information. In accordance with PEACE guidelines, the resulting written statement must reflect as much as possible the interviewee’s own words. However, what is produced in the written text is rarely, if ever, a verbatim reproduction of the interviewee’s talk.
In this talk, I highlight some of the problems that arise in the transposition from talk to text in the investigative interview. These problems are linguistic in nature, but can have serious repercussions for the pursuit of justice. I present examples of linguistic choices made by police officers in written statements taken after the Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster showing how patterns of negation indicate the presence of the interviewer’s voice. The examples also show how officers consistently fixate on key themes that present participants in a negative light. It raises questions about who controls the themes raised in the statements and whether this control is legitimate. I also present linguistic examples of reports from officers writing up crimes of domestic violence to examine whether linguistic patterns depicting agency reflect implicit attitudinal biases. It is important to note that individual linguistic choices in themselves do not constitute an ideology or biased worldview; however, patterns of linguistic behaviour can point to underlying attitudes about victims, suspects, communities, or even types of crimes.
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