Intercultural Competence in Police Work: Does Culture Have an Impact on the Process of Interrogations With Adults in Switzerland?
Behaviours like showering mid-interrogation or avoiding eye contact may find roots in cultural differences. A police officers’ ability to understand and adapt to such events is vital in routing intercultural encounters effectively. Are these manners bizarre or do they reflect cultural differences?
Stefanie Bieri & Patric Kölliker, 2023
Bachelor Thesis, Umbricht coaching & moderation
Betreuende Dozierende: Mark Moser
Keywords: Intercultural Competence, Policing, Police Work, Interrogation
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Intercultural competence has become increasingly important due to growing international interdependencies, alongside a more diverse immigration society. Switzerland witnessed a 74’000 increase in foreign residents between 2016 and 2019. Thus, intercultural competence is considered to play a key role in promoting and ensuring interactions between people from different cultures. Given that the police regularly engage with citizens of varied cultural backgrounds, this competence is indispensable. This thesis aims to probe whether cultural influences impact adult interrogations in Switzerland.
After reviewing secondary data encompassing culture, intercultural competence/intelligence, intercultural challenges and interrogations in Swiss policing, primary data is collected through online interviews with seven police officers in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Culture’s impact on interrogations is identified by analysing the officer’s cultural intelligence, using Ang and Van Dyne's (2015) Cultural Intelligence Model. The transcribed interviews are qualitatively analysed for thematic patterns using a theoretical and scientifically descriptive thematic analysis method.
Based on the insights gained from the analysis, it is evident that the impact of culture is not the sole determinant shaping the dynamics of interrogations. The interviews conducted for this thesis reveal an interplay between cultural factors and the predominant emotional approach of the police officers. Thus, the extent to which culture, and only culture, directly impacts the interrogations is limited. The interviews revealed the officers’ effort to uphold principles of fairness, respect, and equitable treatment during interrogations, placing emphasis on addressing the people rather than their culture. Nevertheless, the analysis discovered several notable differences that can be precisely traced back to cultural influences. These deviations manifest primarily in the following three dimensions: the role of interpreters, language barriers, and power dynamics. As the model applied for the analysis only partially covers all relevant factors culture can take on, an extension of the model with an emotional component is suggested. Furthermore, a more comprehensive network of influences should be considered as cultures solely detect parts of the cultural influence on interrogations.
Studiengang: Business Administration International Management (Bachelor)
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