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Evidence presentation (Essay Sample)


This paper explores various techniques of interviewing/interrogation, provides the pros and cons of each technique, and provides a recommendation on which technique is most appropriate in criminal investigation.


Evidence Presentation
Evidence Presentation
How many police investigators are professional interviewers? How many police officers are professional interviewers? Most dishearteningly, many police officers do not know the difference between interrogation and interviewing. They have to be reminded repeatedly that interrogations are carried out with suspects in a crime, and interviewing is done with witnesses. To some extent, police officers might not be liable for their continued ignorance when conducting interviews/ interrogations. This is because they are not taught both psychological and scientific interrogation/interviewing techniques during their training. This branch of psychology has not grown much because only police investigators rely on it. In addition, the branch is normally thought as unnecessary (Vadackumchery, 1999). As a result, any person-John, Tom, Jane- with a police uniform considers themselves, police interviewer or interrogator. Even the constables and the top functionaries act as interviewers/interrogators. This paper explores various techniques of interviewing/interrogation, provides the pros and cons of each technique, and provides a recommendation on which technique is most appropriate in criminal investigation.
Normally, the sole purpose of a witness is to record a statement. However, research has revealed that some witnesses face many ordeals in police stations. The courts of law have been noting some queer behaviors regarding contradictions in witness testimonies/statements or unbelievable nature of witness-versions. Even after noting such contradicting behavior with witnesses, no one has proposed any suggestions to improve the situation. Disciplinary actions used to be taken against investigating officers who produced defective witness-statements. These disciplinary actions were initiated against the lower and middle level officials. What the top-level officers did not put into consideration is that the police officers were poorly trained, educated or equipped with the essential skills needed for carrying out professional police witness interviews. Actually, defective interviews will always produce defective witness testimonies.
Techniques of interviewing and interrogations
For many years, official interview training was rarely carried out in the policing and other investigative communities. Many police investigators adopted the trial and error method to retrieve information from witnesses or suspects. Nowadays, interview training has been recognized not only by the law enforcement agencies but also by many other organizations like human resource, correctional services, and government inspectors. Some of the techniques that can be adopted in conducting interviews and interrogations include Reid Technique, Kinesics Interview and Interrogation technique, and Narrative Technique.
1 Reid Technique
John Reid pioneered the Reid Technique of interviewing crime suspects. Before developing the technique, he first learned the polygraph technique from one of the directors of the Chicago Police Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory, known as Fred Inbau. During that time, polygraph technique adopted primitive procedures that depended mostly on interrogation techniques. Due to the rude procedures adopted by the polygraph technique, Reid and his associates decided to create a more controlled interviewing method that allowed assessment of a person's honesty, and that would be independent from the polygraph method. Today, Reid's procedure commonly known as Behavior Analysis Interview has been adopted as a standard investigative technique (Inbau, 2005). Reid's method adopts three different processes, which include factual analysis, behavior analysis interviews, and sequence interviews.
Factual analysis
An interview or interrogation is normally facilitated by an effective analysis of investigative findings. An effective factual analysis assists the interviewer/investigator to eliminate improbable suspects, develop possible suspects, identify proper interrogational strategies, and increase confidence in identifying truthful/guilty suspects through the interview process. Factual analysis is an inductive approach whereby an individual is evaluated with regard to certain observations related to the crime. It not only relies on crime scene analysis but also on the information gathered about each suspect. For instance, if crime under scrutiny appears to be spontaneous, and spurred by a real and immediate need, each suspect will be assessed according to his or her personality, and his or her motives. Factual analysis facilitates identification of characteristics about the suspect and the crime, which are essential during an interrogation of an individual believed to be guilty.
The behavioral analysis interview
Behavior Analysis Interview is a session whereby the suspect is asked fairly structured and non-accusatory questions. These may be background questions such as age, occupation, suspect's address, and marital status. Apart from getting personal information about the suspect, these questions enable an investigator to assess suspect's verbal and non-verbal behaviors, such as the nature/degree of eye contact and general demeanor. After retrieving personal information, the investigator asks behavior-provoking questions that are meant to elicit various verbal and non-verbal reactions from truthful and deceptive suspects. Behavior Analysis Interviews facilitates eventual interrogation of guilty suspects and they enable formulation of an interrogation strategy.
Sequence of interviews



1. This technique enables collection of comprehensive and perfect information because it adopts three processes.
2. Use of the Behavior Analysis Interview provides criteria of rendering an opinion regarding suspect's truthfulness through assessing responses to the behavioral provoking questions.
3. Use of series of interviews enables extraction of information even from the most innocent suspect.
4. Through factual analysis, the investigator can identify characteristics about the crime and the suspect that can be essential during the interrogation of a suspect believed to be guilty.

1. Can be time consuming because it adopts several processes
2. Use of Behavior Analysis Interviews cannot guarantee collection of accurate information because some suspects may be innocent but presence of police officers can make them react in an abnormal way.
3. Use of sequence of interviews can make suspects give unreliable information due to fatigue and stress.

Use of several interviews enables extraction of information from both the guilty and innocent suspects. Innocent suspects can be an excellent source of information regarding a certain crime because after realizing that they are suspects in a crime, they tend to talk more about unusual happenings during the time of the crime, rumors about the perpetrators, and violations of policy. Sometimes, the innocent suspects turn to be the guilty parties of a crime. It is therefore imperative to conduct a series of interviews before coming into a conclusion.
2 Kinesic Interview and Interrogation technique
Law enforcement officers commonly adopt this technique because individuals involved in a crime often-present telling indicators of receptiveness, deception, and nervousness through their general body demeanor. Originally coined by Ray Birdwhistell, Kinesics technique has become an essential part of police interrogations. This technique involves assessing how suspect's body messes with what they say. Crime investigators look at certain behaviors, which suggest that the suspect is guilty. These behaviors include crying, slumping in the chair, or taking on an explanatory tone of voice.
More tactical kinesics can be adopted when interrogating suspects who have a high likelihood of excelling at deception. Techniques such as sub-verbal encryption adopt unconscious verbal coding that enable identification of individual's personality. Investigators also employ use of stress manipulation procedures to elicit confessions. When these techniques are initiated correctly, suspects normally display the telltale cues without their knowledge.



1. This technique can solicit information from the most deceptive suspects since it relies on behaviors rather than the content of the information given.
2. Use of sub-verbal encryption adopt unconscious verbal coding that enable identification of individual's personality

1. Suspects react different in front of police officers and this can lead to collection of unreliable information.
2. This technique is quite expensive, as it requires highly qualified personnel.
3. Some behaviors can be misleading. For instance if the suspect is drug addict shaking of hands might not mean he/she is telling lies.

3 Narrative Interviews
Since ...
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