Police ethics and homicide investigations

My current research covers two seemingly diverse areas – homicide investigations and police ethics. Essentially I’m interested in decision making processes by police officers – especially the supposedly ‘thinking – reasoning’ ones in departments such as murder squads.

One of the ways I have been pursuing this research is by accompanying officers on homicide investigations and looking at the newly instigated process of investigating ‘domestic’ homicides. This has involved becoming trained as an Independent Chair of ‘Domestic Homicide Reviews’, accredited by the Home Office.

The work itself is often troubling and emotionally loaded, as you might expect. A sudden death of any type is a shock for all concerned, and the ones I investigate have an added dimension in that it is often a loved family member, partner or ex partner, who has carried out the killing.

As I become more involved in this work I am realising that the police make crucial decisions in people’s lives, not just after the event, but also before. In other words, some of the investigations find that the notion of ‘a domestic’ is still treated as a low priority, despite policy changes and public statements to the contrary.

Presentation time: 
Wednesday, 2 July, 2014 - 13:30

Louise Westmarland

Louise has worked for the OU in various capacities since 1994 and has been full time at the MK campus since 2002. Her research interests largely focus on the police and their occupational culture. This has included studies of gender and policing, homicide investigations and most recently corruption, integrity and ethics. In 2013 she completed a training course to make her an accredited Home Office Domestic Homicide Investigator.