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One way or another? Criminal investigators' beliefs regarding the disclosure of evidence in interviews with suspects in England and WalesThe research base concerning interviews with suspects remains to be comprehensively developed. For example, the extant literature provides differing views regarding how best to undertake the important interview task of disclosing evidence. In the current study, using a self-report questionnaire, 224 investigators based in England and Wales were asked as to their own preferred methods. Most respondents advocated a gradual method of disclosing evidence, stating that this approach would better reveal inconsistencies and obtain a complete version of events (similar to the reasoning of those who preferred disclosing evidence later). Those who advocated revealing evidence early stated this approach would more likely elicit confessions. Several respondents would not commit to one single method, arguing that their chosen strategy was contextually dependent. The study’s findings suggest that it remains arguable as to whether there is one best approach to evidence disclosure and/or whether particular circumstances should influence interviewing strategies.
Police strategies and suspect responses in real-life serious crime interviewsThis research focuses exclusively on real-life taped interviews with serious crime suspects and examines the strategies used and types of questions asked by police, and suspects’ responses to these. The information source was audio-tape-recorded interviews with 56 suspects. These recordings were obtained from 11 police services across England and Wales and were analysed using a specially designed coding frame. It was found that interviewers employed a range of strategies with presentation of evidence and challenge the most frequently observed. Closed questions were by far the most frequently used, and open questions, although less frequent, were found to occur more during the opening phases of the interviews. The frequency of ineffective question types (e.g. negative, repetitive, multiple) was low. A number of significant associations were observed between interviewer strategies and suspect responses. Rapport/empathy and open-type questions were associated with an increased likelihood of suspects admitting the offence whilst describing trauma, and negative questions were associated with a decreased likelihood.