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Continuous Improvement

Investigation is a dynamic and complicated mode of activity, in part because those investigated seek to avoid investigation and/or subvert investigative techniques. Hence, there is a need to identify and implement best practices, including use of the latest investigative tools, such as those made available by forensic science. Relatedly, there is a need to apply such practices and tools innovatively to the specific internal affairs context in which the investigators are operating—for example, in the design of integrity tests. Hence a criterion of the quality of investigations is the extent to which they not only deploy best practices, but are also monitored with a view to improvement in light of new developments.

In addition, data need to be collected regarding complaints, including the number of complaints received and finalized per annum, the time taken to finalize complaints, and the types of investigative decisions arrived at, such as substantiation, referral to mediation, and penalties. Data also need to be collected regarding the levels of satisfaction of complainants and, for that matter, of complainees, since such evaluations provide an important picture of agency work and can be used to indicate areas of under-performance by investigators.

In this chapter I have elaborated twenty-two criteria for determining the quality of internal police investigations. In doing so, I have also indicated some ways of assessing performance against these criteria. However, each of these criteria is in itself an important topic and in need of further analysis and assessment.

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