Starting from scratch: Planning practices of police recruits in Western Australia

Document Type

Journal Article


Emergency Media Pty Ltd.


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Law and Justice / Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Social Change




Tudor-Owen, J., Scott, A., Henry, P., & Bull, R. (2015). Starting from scratch: Planning practices of police recruits in Western Australia. Australasian Policing: A Journal of Professional Practice and Research, 2, pp. 3-9. Available here


Given the limited body of research concerning planning for investigative interviews, the aim of the present study was to examine what police recruits plan for in investigative interviews with witnesses. The study analysed the plans of 37 police recruits prepared on four occasions following specific points in their training at the Western Australia Police Academy. Each of the items from the plans was assigned to one of twelve categories: Introduction, Witness demographics, Interview demographics, Pre-existing information, Incident details, Elements, Defences, Legal, procedure, Interview procedure, Rapport building, Interviewing technique, and Other. Statistical analyses were conducted to determine how the proportion of items included in the categories changed across the four occasions. Findings indicate recruits consistently emphasise planning around Incident details, and include comparatively less items relating to Introduction and Rapport building. Encouragingly, items relating to Interview procedure and Interview technique occupy a greater proportion of the items in plans prepared following interviewing training. The findings presented provide encouragement for interview trainers as they show that targeted training may influence recruits’ planning. As such, it is important to identify areas that are generally neglected in plans and to develop training that emphasises the inclusion of items related to these areas in order to facilitate the preparation of more balanced plans and interviews.

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