Police strategies and suspect responses in real-life serious crime interviews
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AbstractThis 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.
CitationLeahy-Harland, S. and Bull, R. (2016) 'Police Strategies and Suspect Responses in Real-Life Serious Crime Interviews', Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 32 (2):138
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology