The ethical practice of police psychology

Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Anna Corbo Crehan, Susan Brandon

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


National security priorities, result-oriented pressures, and cost sensitivity are common features of contemporary policing. While the global shift to evidence-based policing (EBP) increased police reliance on behavioral science research on interrogation and interviews, skepticism about the effectiveness of “soft” science is pervasive and “hard” sciences have been privileged. Psychologists have consequently been challenged to fulfill their roles in compliance with the four key principles that underpin psychologists' codes of ethics, namely, respect for rights and dignity, competent caring, integrity, and social responsibility. This chapter reviews the alignment of these principles with the relational skills implicit in the four tenets of the leading theory in international police practice, procedural justice (PJ). An analysis of research constructs applied in contemporary interviewing research demonstrated the integral connection between these relational skills and effective interviewing of high-value detainees. These links are present both in a “ticking bomb” scenario as well as less exigent contexts. By mapping the links between ethical principles, PJ tenets, relational research constructs and outcomes, this chapter offers a potential framework for behavioral scientists in policing contexts to develop their ethical literacy and better articulate and evaluate potential ethical issues in their practice. Adherence to PJ tenets can reduce psychologists' role conflicts and facilitate the ethical practice of psychology and EBP.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolice psychology
Subtitle of host publicationNew trends in forensic psychological science
EditorsPaulo Barbosa Marques, Mauro Paulino
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780128165447
ISBN (Print)9780128165447
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'The ethical practice of police psychology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this