Investigative challenges relating to gang-related homicide: senior investigating officers’ perspectives

Journal article


Ozcakir Mozova, K. 2019. Investigative challenges relating to gang-related homicide: senior investigating officers’ perspectives. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice. 5 (3), pp. 189-201. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRPP-04-2019-0024/full/html
AuthorsOzcakir Mozova, K.
Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide the reader with Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) perspectives of their understanding of gang-related homicide and associated investigative challenges.

Design/methodology/approach

Phenomenological design was utilised in this study. Fifteen SIOs from the Metropolitan Police Service were interviewed using a semi-structured interview and analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

It was found that the original typology of ‘gang homicide’ might be too narrow and focus should be paid to ‘gang-related homicide’, characterised via motive behind the offence. This type of homicide exhibited specific characteristics (e.g. violent nature, large potential scene and pool of suspects) and investigative challenges which made it different from other types of homicide (e.g. complexity; need for more resources; managing unwilling witnesses; managing media interest; specific evidence challenges, need for thorough risk assessments). The need for expertise in the deployment of officers was highlighted and related to the desire for more continuing professional development.

Practical Implications

-Gang-related homicide is especially challenging but due to its volume, SIOs in London developed a sort of ‘muscle memory’ – something that other police services do not have, even though the ‘gang problem’ is spreading outside of metropolitan areas
-Support for changes (e.g. in the utility of Community Impact Assessment) and non-standard procedures (e.g. consideration of covert operations early on) should be discussed in further training and manual development
-More attention needs to be paid to the synthesis of experience, expertise and science, SIOs being especially interested in debriefs and continuing professional development opportunities. Multi-agency training is key for homicide investigators, relating to the complex nature of gang related homicide and relevant safeguarding issues.
-Resourcing is a clear issue relating to the increase in gang-related homicide, as well as its investigation

Originality/value

This is the first research into investigative challenges of gang-related homicide in England and Wales and the findings can be utilised by all police services who may be dealing with gangs in their area. The findings can also support calls for change and development within services.

KeywordsPolicing; training/professionalization; gang-related homicide; homicide investigation; senior investigating officers; street gang
Year2019
JournalJournal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice
Journal citation5 (3), pp. 189-201
PublisherEmerald
ISSN2056-3841
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRPP-04-2019-0024/full/html
Related URLhttps://www.emerald.com/insight/
Publication dates
Print16 Sep 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Oct 2019
Accepted31 Jul 2019
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8912q/investigative-challenges-relating-to-gang-related-homicide-senior-investigating-officers-perspectives

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