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Det dubbla ansvaret: Polisförhör med barn och unga som misstänks för att ha utövat dödligt våld
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6861-4848
2020 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The dual responsibility : Investigative interviews with children and youth suspected of homicide crimes (English)
Abstract [en]

The over-arching aim of this doctoral thesis is to describe, analyze, theorize and problematize how the Swedish police interrogate children and youth suspected of committing the crime of homicide. This thesis will therefore focus on the investigative interview practices with children below the age of criminal responsibility, who cannot be prosecuted, as well as youth, who have reached the age of criminal responsibility and can thus be prosecuted, and, if found guilty, sentenced. The thesis particularly conceptualizes the “dual responsibility” of the police when interrogating children and youth. The police are, in accordance with the law, obliged to both investigate the actual crime and the issue of guilt and the need of social support for the well-being of the suspected child or youth. The quintessential question is, thus if, and, if so, to what extent, the investigative interview practices being studied responds to the legal obligation of this dual responsibility.

The empirical data that the thesis analyzes are the investigative interviews conducted by police officers in Swedish police authorities from 1995 to 2013, comprising a total of forty-seven case files. These files include seven children, five to fourteen years old, and forty-seven youths, fifteen to seventeen years old, all of whom are suspected of having committed the crime of homicide. A total of 101 transcribed interviews are included in the study.

The thesis identifies five main empirical findings. The first is that the investigative interview practices comprise three main themes, namely, interrogative topics (what the police ask about), questions (how the police ask question to get to know about the topics), and strategies (how the police try to make the children and the youth talk about the actual topics). The second main finding is that all three investigative interview practices exclusively concern nothing but issues of crime and guilt - including the description of the crime, its time and place, weapon(s) involved and motive(s). The third main finding is that there are no significant differences in how children and youth are being interrogated. The fourth main finding, then, is that only one of the two legal responsibilities is in focus in the interviews. That is, the investigation of the facts of the crime and the determination of guilt. The fifth finding is that when focusing on crime and guilt the police use of questions is often not in compliance with existing recommendations for best practices, which means that leading questions are often used.

These findings are then theorized by applying Mary Douglas’ theory of how institutions think. This theorization shows that the investigative interview practices are strongly informed by a thought style which is manifested throughout the interrogative topics, questions and strategies. This thought style influences the institutional approach in such a way that one half of the dual responsibility is completely overlooked. That is, the legal obligation to investigate the need of social support for the wellbeing of a suspected child or youth, both during interrogation and afterwards in their lives following the investigations.

The thesis ends by identifying a number of problems, possibilities and dilemmas that need to be met to ensure that the investigative interview practices fully address the legal obligations of the dual responsibility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University , 2020. , p. 245
Keywords [en]
children, youth, homicide crime, interrogation, the Swedish police force, Mary Douglas, how institutions think, thought styles
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Child and Youth Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-178105ISBN: 978-91-7797-978-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-979-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-178105DiVA, id: diva2:1386740
Public defence
2020-03-06, hörsalen, Frescati backe, Svante Arrhenius väg 21 A, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
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Available from: 2020-02-12 Created: 2020-01-19 Last updated: 2020-02-13Bibliographically approved

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Det dubbla ansvaret(3318 kB)17 downloads
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456789107 of 11
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