Title: Characteristics of effective detectives: a content analysis for investigative thinking styles in policing

Authors: Ivar Andre Fahsing, Petter Gottschalk

Addresses: Norwegian Police University College, PO Box 5027, Majorstua, 0301 Oslo, Norway. ' Department of Leadership and Organisation Management, Norwegian School of Management BI, Nydalsveien 37, 0442 Oslo, Norway

Abstract: In criminal investigations, detectives apply different thinking styles, such as method style, challenge style, skill style and risk style. In a survey in Norway, detectives were asked to list the five most important characteristics of effective investigators. This was done in a free format, requiring content analysis to categorise responses. Responses were categorised according to thinking styles. While creativity was the most frequently mentioned characteristic, content analysis shows that the skill style of detectives is the most effective thinking style. To be effective, detectives need to practice good empathic communication, open-minded curiosity, logical reasoning, creative thinking and dogged determination.

Keywords: creativity; crime; law enforcement; skills; survey; investigative policing; thinking styles; criminal investigations; Norway; detectives.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2008.019146

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2008 Vol.5 No.6, pp.651 - 663

Published online: 30 Jun 2008 *

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