Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 208–216 | Cite as

Confidently Wrong: Police Endorsement of Psycho-Legal Misconceptions

Article

Abstract

Public beliefs about psychological issues relevant to the legal system have been demonstrated to often be misconceived, but the endorsement of such beliefs in law enforcement samples is largely unknown. This study was the first to compare psycho-legal beliefs between law enforcement officers and the general public in the UK. Participants were presented a 50-item questionnaire measuring five psycho-legal topics; police procedures, courts, tough on crime, mental illness, and memory and cognition. Despite direct involvement and relevant experience, law enforcement officers endorsed just as many empirically contradictory beliefs as those who were not law enforcement officers. Further, law enforcement officers were more confident in their responses. This research has implications for identifying areas of limited knowledge within police samples that can be targeted by police education.

Keywords

Law enforcement Law Psychology Evidence-based policing Police reform 

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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.London Probation ServicesLondonUK
  2. 2.School of Law and Social SciencesLondon South Bank UniversityLondonUK

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