Investigating Death: The Emotional and Cultural Challenges for Police

Policing and Society, 26(6), pp. 698-712.

QUT – Law and Justice Research Paper No. 16-06

20 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2016

See all articles by Belinda Carpenter

Belinda Carpenter

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Gordon Tait

Queensland University of Technology

Carol Quadrelli

Queensland University of Technology

Ian Thompson

Queensland Police Service

Date Written: March 13, 2015

Abstract

The over-representation of vulnerable populations within the criminal justice system, and the role of police in perpetuating this, has long been a topic of discussion in criminology. What is less discussed is the way in which non-criminal investigations by police, in areas like a death investigation, may similarly disadvantage and discriminate against vulnerable populations. In Australia, as elsewhere, it is police who are responsible for investigating both suspicious and violent deaths like homicide as well as non-suspicious, violent deaths like accidents and suicides. Police are also the agents tasked with investigating deaths which are neither violent nor suspicious but occur outside hospitals and other care facilities. This paper, part of a larger funded Australian research project focusing on the ways in which cultural and religious differences are dealt with during the death investigation process, reports on how police describe – or are described by others – during their role in a non-suspicious death investigation, and the challenges that such investigations raise for police and policing. The employment of police liaison officers is discussed as one response to the difficulty of policing cultural and religious difference with variable results.

Keywords: emotion, culture, death, coroner

JEL Classification: K00, Z00

Suggested Citation

Carpenter, Belinda and Tait, Gordon and Quadrelli, Carol and Thompson, Ian, Investigating Death: The Emotional and Cultural Challenges for Police (March 13, 2015). Policing and Society, 26(6), pp. 698-712. ; QUT – Law and Justice Research Paper No. 16-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2884417

Belinda Carpenter (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

Gordon Tait

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Carol Quadrelli

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Ian Thompson

Queensland Police Service

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