Police detectives traditionally defined a successful homicide investigation as involving a suspect being identified, charged and ultimately convicted - preferably for murder. However, it is increasingly being recognised, not least by police officers themselves, that definitions of success can be more complex. Informed by empirical data drawn from field studies of police murder investigations in the UK, this article identifies four alternate definitions of investigative success: (i) outcome success, (ii) procedural success, (iii) community impact reduction success and (iv) preventative success. These ways of socially constructing the 'success' or otherwise of homicide investigation work are framed by the different perspectives and pressures that attend to different roles within the police organisation. The article concludes by considering the wider implications of these issues for thinking about police performance and contemporary understandings of 'good' policing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-310
JournalPolicing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2013

    Research areas

  • homicide investigation, defining success, police investigation and murder, police performance

ID: 89928