'It's better to see a tiger than a police officer': adapting the cognitive interview technique to the Indonesian policing context

Muniroh, R 2019, 'It's better to see a tiger than a police officer': adapting the cognitive interview technique to the Indonesian policing context, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title 'It's better to see a tiger than a police officer': adapting the cognitive interview technique to the Indonesian policing context
Author(s) Muniroh, R
Year 2019
Abstract This thesis is a forensic linguistic investigation of the adaptation of the cognitive interview (CI) technique in an Indonesian policing context. Intersecting the disciplines of psychology, linguistics and law, it draws primarily on a linguistic theoretical framework while utilising insights drawn from psychology and law.

CI serves as a benchmark for witness interviewing models throughout the world due to its empirical basis and ability to enhance memory recall. By using specifically worded questions that are designed to prompt memory and cognitive functions, CI has been proved capable of increasing the amount of information that can be obtained from witnesses. Underscoring this study is the knowledge that poor interviewing practices by Indonesian police have led to numerous miscarriages of justice. In alignment with the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights' initiative to introduce investigative interviewing models, including CI, into the Indonesian police from 2014, positive responses from the Indonesian police towards the implementation of CI exist. However, as CI is operationalised in the English language and legal system, and as Indonesia has a vastly different language, culture and legal environment, the appropriateness of CI instructions and the legal viability of CI in an Indonesian context cannot be ignored. Earlier studies have not considered the effect of language on the functioning of CI and the proper legal environment of CI. Therefore, this study asks `how well can CI work in the Indonesian policing context? 'This principle research question is addressed via three sub-questions that are administered in stages: sub-question 1, `what are police investigators' perceptions of their existing practices of interviewing witnesses?' ; sub-question 2, `how linguistically appropriate are CI instructions in the Indonesian language?' ; and sub-question 3, `how legally viable is CI in the Indonesian legal system?'

This exploratory study employs a mixed-method design. Semi-structured interviews followed by questionnaires are employed to gather data for Stage 1. Delphi techniques are utilised to generate and rank expert opinions on issues relating to Stages 2 and 3. Stage 2 Delphi involves four rounds of collecting experts' opinions via questionnaires to arrive at a consensus on the optimal CI instructions in Indonesian. Stage 3 Delphi uses two rounds: semi-structured interviews in Round 1 followed by a questionnaire in Round 2 to collect the views of experts on the suitable legal environment of CI in Indonesia.

The results of Stage 1 show that Indonesian police lack evidence-based techniques for interviewing witnesses. While CI features humaneness and participation, Indonesian police practice humaneness with standard interviewing and domination. The overlapping value of humaneness supports CI to move forward. The incongruity between the two practices justifies the need to introduce CI to the Indonesian police via training.

The results of Stage 2 show the language that is appropriate for CI in an Indonesian police interviewing discourse. Indonesian CI's formality operates multidimensionally, embracing respectfulness, professionalism and warmth to achieve the institutional goal of interviewing. It features `normalspeak' (as opposed to `copspeak') - that is, a short instruction and contextual wording with standard Indonesian as a measure. The results also show participants lack of knowledge about CI. Several aspects of CI strategies were regarded as being against the existing norms and practices of police interviewing in Indonesia. It is inevitable that introducing CI in the Indonesian policing context requires training and modification of CI. The training should include materials on memory formation and explicit teaching of memory retrieval instructions to improve awareness of language use.

The results of Stage 3 data analysis demonstrate a sufficient legal regulatory environment for CI in the Indonesian policing system, with the exception of the use of open questions and mandatory recording of interviews. To implement CI properly, these may need to be addressed via legislative reform or agency actions. The whole point of CI is that it is not only legally more reliable, but is also intended to be more just and fair.

The results from Stages 1, 2 and 3 are brought together to answer the main research question. They show that English language CI has served as the basis for developing Indonesian CI and that Indonesian CI can work well in Indonesian policing contexts pending some adaptation of processes. There is considerable support for introducing CI via training to the Indonesian police. This is evidenced in the positive attitudes of Indonesian police to both their existing practices and CI; the linguistic formula for appropriate CI, which guarantees that Indonesian CI can achieve a similar outcome as that of English CI; and the legal environment of CI alongside existing legal reform. Adapting English CI to an Indonesian policing context is a complex process that must take many factors into consideration. To facilitate effective adaptation, the researcher proposes that the ILAHAR principle be adopted. The term ILAHAR is derived from Sundanese (regional language of West Java people) and means `common'. The principle, which operates under six sub-principles, is the mnemonic of Interest, Likenesses, Awareness, Changes, (supportive) Atmosphere and Reiteration. It explains how to make CI `common' in an Indonesian policing context and can serve as a template for change for other jurisdictions pursuing CI and facing similar problems to Indonesia.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global, Urban and Social Studies
Subjects Discourse and Pragmatics
Indonesian Languages
Police Administration, Procedures and Practice
Translation and Interpretation Studies
Keyword(s) cognitive interview
Indonesian police
institutional discourse
language appropriateness
legal viability
Delphi method
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Created: Thu, 30 May 2019, 14:02:07 EST by Pinipa Sugandi
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