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Interviewing and Interrogation: To Record or Not Record… Tip # 19 of 101 Tips

Interviewing and Interrogation

To Record or Not Record … Why Would You Not?

Since 1984 and the passage of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (P.A.C.E.) Great Britain’s law enforcement agencies have been recording their interviewing and interrogation sessions.  There were multiple reasons behind the move to record.  To assure that the rights of subject’s were being properly protected and more importantly, the biggest motivating factor was to more quickly identify and reduce the occurrence of false confessions.  

Since that time numerous local agencies in the US have decided on an  individual basis to record their interviewing and interrogation sessions.   There are now 20+ states that by statute recording some form of recording of at least specific major felony cases to all felony cases and many misdemeanor cases.

Initially there was resistance to the idea of recording those sessions by some law enforcement personnel and prosecutors.  Those agencies and states that have started the recording interviewing and interrogation of subjects have now overwhelming embraced the process and are giving rave reviews.  Earlier this year there has been news that more and more federal agencies may be following suit.

Listen in to Tip # 19 of 101 Tips for Interviewers and Interrogators and learn more about the process of interviewing and interrogation recording.

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Interviewing and Interrogation: Do You “Google” Your Subject? | Tip # 18 of 101 Tips

Interviewing and Interrogation Scene

Interviewing and Interrogation:

Have you ever thought about “Googling” your subject?

Extensive research has shown that lie signs are in fact quite rare during interviewing and interrogation.  The signs a subject may possibly generate are very faint “signals” and are very brief which makes them hard to spot.  We know that during the interviewing and interrogation of subjects, that even though the subject may be experiencing a high level of “detection anxiety”, they don’t exhibit a large volume of deception signals. 

This is especially true for the stereotypical body language cues that investigators have been taught to look for for decades. In fact, by focusing the majority of their attention on body language lie signs, observers fall victim to “confirmation bias” and can make very egregious errors in spotting deception.  I call it “The Big Foot Syndrome.”  If you “think” you’re going to see signs of Big Foot while you’re out in the woods, then EVERYTHING looks like a sign made by Big Foot! The best and most reliable cues come from verbal content.

Although verbal content is comparatively more reliable than body language cues, detection still requires more effort on the part of the observer / interviewer.

Two things can change the investigator’s success at spotting deception and getting more information during interviewing and interrogation.

  • Don’t focus so much on spotting where the subject is possibly being deceptive.  If you only focus on winning the “you’re lying” battle, the odds are stacked unfavorably against you.  Identify which “topics” seem to give the subject the greatest problems and focus your questions around those issues.
  • As you’re interviewing and interrogation efforts progress, focus your questions around the “topic” areas.  Your goal is to energize any lie symptoms that “may” be present. At the same time, your questions will generate larger amounts of information.

Watch video Tip # 18 “Interviewing and Interrogation | Do You “Google” Your Subject?” and see how you can identify and energize your subject’s hot spots.


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Interviewing and Interrogation |Let the Subject Win the Little Battles | Tip # 10of| 101 Tips

Tip # 10 - Let Subject Win The Little BattlesInterviewing and Interrogation

Letting the Subject Win Little Battles

Tip # 10 - Let Subject Win The Little Battles

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