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Chapter 3

PSYC 3020 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Police Psychology, Police Services Act Of Ontario, Job Performance

Course Code
PSYC 3020
Dan Yarmey

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Week 3: Police Psychology
Chapter 2: Police Psychology
Police Selection
- Requires intelligent, creative, ethical, caring and hard working individuals
- Use screening procedures when hiring personnel
- Lewis Terman used the Stanford-Binet Intelligence test to assist with police
selection in California in 1917
oHis recommendation was that one had at least an IQ score of 80
- By the 1950’s psychological screening procedures became a standard part of
selection procedure
- Now background checks, medical exams, interviews, personality tests, drug
testing, physical ability tests are all commonly used
oRCMP Police Aptitude test
o6 Factor Personality Questionnaire
oMostly the same across Canada, although Edmonton is one of the only
forces to use a polygraph test
Job Analysis Stage: A procedure for identifying the knowledge, skills and abilities
that makes a good police officer
- Organizational psychologists usually conduct job analysis
- One major problem is that what makes a good officer may not be stable over
time + different police jobs need different things
oConstables rate sense of humor as very important whereas senior
officers do not
oHonesty, reliability, sensitivity to others, good communication skills,
high motivation, problem solving skill and team player are rated high
Constructing And Validating Selection Instruments
- Need to develop a selection instrument for measuring the extent to which
police applicants possess relevant KSA’s
oCurrently there is no evidence to suggest that one measurement is
better than any other on how to define “good” performance”
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oMeasures of performance during training do not often transfer to on
the job performance
- Also need to ensure that this instrument has predictive validity
o+1 means that as performance in the instrument increases job
performance also increases
o-1 means that as performance in the instrument increases, job
performance decreases
Validity of Police Selection Instruments
The Selection Interview: Most common selection instrument, usually takes the
form of a semi-structured interview to determine if the applicant possess the KSA’s
for the job
- Relatively little research on the predictive validity of the selection interview
oResearch that does exist is mixed
- The more structured the interview the more likely it will predict future job
performance with some degree of success
Psychological Tests: Developed to measure cognitive abilities and personality,
some are specifically developed with police selection in mind
- General agreement that these tests are useful
oCognitive Tests: Procedure for measuring verbal, mathematical,
memory and reasoning abilities
RCMP Aptitude Test also measures written composition,
comprehension, memory, judgment, observation logic etc.
More predictive of training performance than job performance
oPersonality Tests: Identifies people with psychopathological
MMPI is used the most often; used to identify paranoia,
depression, schizophrenia
Related to significant but low predictive coefficients
The “lie scale” for faking good is related to problematic
police behaviour
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find more resources at oneclass.com

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Low validity may be due to the fact that the MMPI was
not created for police selection
Inwald Personality Inventory: Used to identify police
applicants who are suitable by measuring personality
attributes and behaviour patterns
Measures stress reaction, interpersonal difficulties and
substance abuse
It is a slightly better predictor of on the job performance
than the MMPI
IPI could predict supervisor rating, citizen and
complaints and overall composite of negative indicators
Other tests could only predict supervisor ratings
Assessment Centers: A facility in which the behaviour of police applicants can be
observed in a number of situations by multiple observers
- Involves situational tests that stimulate real life police events
- Performance appraisals are used for selection
- Research suggests that these have a moderate level of predictive validity
Police Discretion
- The freedom that a police officer often has for deciding what should be done
in any given situation
oWhich is why problem solving, being adaptable, having common sense
are all important
- It is impossible to establish laws that adequately encompass all the possible
future situations an officer could find themselves in
- Discretion is important because…
oIf we didn’t have it, police would be in courts all the time
oLegislature passes some laws they do not expect to be strictly
oMany law violations are minor in nature
oFull enforcement would undermine public support for police
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
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