Interviewing Victims and Witnesses
Interviewing tips taught to many investigators during their initial training is unfortunately severely lacking. Interviewing victims and witnesses is THE most important thing you will ever do as an investigator. In a prominent study conducted by the Rand Corporation many years ago provided an important interviewing tip. The interviews of victims and witnesses is one of the most important steps to clearing any case. That is however if you are using an effective interviewing style. Now, nearly 3 decades later our training academies may still be short changing our investigators by not giving attention to this critical skill.
The vast majority of interviewing tips offered in interviewing and interrogation training courses focus heavily on the element of spotting deception in the victim or witness’s behavior. They do not focus on getting information and how to avoid contaminating statements. To complicate the situation even further, most interviewing and interrogation training courses offering interviewing tips of spotting deception. The problem is that the great majority of verbal and nonverbal cues identified as deception in these interviewing and interrogation courses have been proven wrong.
Unfortunately, during interviewing and interrogation training, little emphasis is on interviewing tips and techniques that have been proven to be effective. Many victim and witness interviews uncover little of the information victims and witnesses possess. Most tactics taught and used are even counter-productive. The result is often statements that have been contaminated by the interviewer’s efforts. Those same tactics also do little gain cooperation and compliance from victims and witnesses nor take into account the strong emotional and cognitive reactions they may be experiencing.
Watch Interviewing Tip # 27 | Interviewing Victims and Witnesses of 101 Tips for Interviewing and Interrogation to Learn More.
Practical Kinesic Interviewing & Interrogation ®
It’s More Than Just Spotting Deception
Reaction vs. Response – Beyond Just Body Language & Deception
The real key to Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation ® is once the interviewer finds to trouble spots, understand what is the most appropriate ethical tactics that will encourage compliance and cooperation. Subjects will either “react” or “respond” to the interviewer and their questions and conversation. The appropriate tactic by the interviewer is important to success of the entire conversation.
Interviewing and Interrogation Tip # 25 of 101 Tips for Interviewer and Interrogators explore the difference between subject reaction and response.
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Subject’s who are “reacting” to the interviewer are exhibiting either emotional or cognitive behaviors that are not conducive to the subject even hearing much less evaluating the interviewer’s efforts and ethical persuasion. It is only during a “response” behavior that the subject is ready for the conversation to move forward to an outcome that they find acceptable.
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Interviewing and Interrogation
The Dialogue of Persuasion and the word “Because”
Effective interviewing and interrogation is far more than just rattling off questions and hoping to get information. Too often investigators make the assumption that they must “power” the subject through interviewing and interrogation and that their subject will eventually surrender under the mere weight of suspicion, the fact that they are being interviewed about their involvement in a critical event and that to resist the investigator and his or her conclusions is futile. More often than not, these are the very same tactics you will find in cases of contaminated victim, witness and suspect statements. These tactics in combination with other factors have also been noted to be present during interviewing and interrogations that have resulted in false confessions.
A professional investigator doesn’t have to use manipulation when interviewing their subjects. They will persuade to subject to draw the conclusion that it is in their best interest to do so. One small part of effective persuasion is the use of a the very powerful word “because.” It is “a request plus a reason.”
Learn more in Tip # 24 of 101 Tips for Interviewing and interrogation.
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