Influence of racial stereotypes on investigative decision-making in criminal investigations: A qualitative comparative analysis
Recent research suggests that the police are aware of the general trends in street crime and, from such awareness, tend to form impressions of the likelihood that persons belonging to various racial groups will commit certain types of crimes (e.g. drugs-related crimes). Such perceptions may lead to the police undertaking racial profiling which has the effect of creating a cycle of profiling of suspected offenders, regardless of the accuracy of these perceptions. As such, these cycles of profiling are results of negative stereotypes. The present study involved semi-structured interviews with serving police officers in England, during which the same scenario was put to each of them in turn, only differing in the name of the suspect. We employed an innovative methodological technique, crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis (csQCA), which enabled us to identify the causal relationship between variables (i.e. racial stereotypes) and associated outcomes of investigations. As a result, we found two pathways to police officers’ investigative decision-making. Both pathways indicated that any negative stereotypes based on suspect’s group membership may well indeed influence the officers’ investigative decision-making, quite possibly affecting outcomes of criminal investigations. Implications for investigative practice are discussed.
open access article
Citation : Minhas, R., and Walsh, D. (2018) Influence of racial stereotypes on investigative decision-making in criminal investigations: A qualitative comparative analysis. Cogent Social Sciences, 4
Research Group : Institute for Evidence-based Law Reform
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Department of Law