Hopps, Bethany (2019) Investigating Cognitive Bias: Does the status of a homicide or sexual offence investigation (live, cold or historic) effect the cognitive decision making of the investigating officer? Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

There is vast amounts of research which investigates the decision making process of investigating officers in homicide investigations. Little is known about the decisions made whilst investigating sexual offences and little is known regarding whether these decisions differ if the officer is investigating a cold homicide/sexual offence or a historic homicide/sexual offence. The current research aims to bridge the gap in research regarding decision making and cognitive bias dependent of the status of the criminal case. It is not a comparison of offence type and was not concerned with exploring the differences between types of crimes.

Seven police investigators working on a cold case review team for one of the UK’s police forces were interviewed regarding the decisions they make.The team is roughly split into two sides and the officers specifically investigate either homicide or sexual offences that have not been solved at the time interviews occurred. Although the officers provided mixed views, the research found that there is a difference between cold and historic homicide/sexual offence cases with a definition obtained. However, ‘cold’ as a terminology caused unsettlement with the officers. The research also found that cognitive bias and the framing effect do have an effect on the decisions made by investigators. However, the effect the frame has was different to what was originally hypothesised. Other impacting factors on decision making were also discovered and discussed. Implications on UK policing are considered and the limitations of this research are considered. Recommendations for further research are offered.

Hopps THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
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