|Type of paper:||Research paper|
Police interrogation is a process where the legal authority formally questions a suspect, witness and or a victim with the aim of solving a crime. Interrogation can take few minutes or several hours depending on the crime and the satisfactory answers the legal authority are getting. The suspect has a right to a council representation. The police interrogation tactics and techniques have significantly evolved in the few years. Some of the traditional methods are no longer used while others have been improved and are still used. According to Kelly, Miller, Redlich, & Kleinman (2013), there are more than 70 unique interrogation techniques that are in existence. The specific the police choices depends on the situations and the related factors of the crime. Although this is the case, some interrogation techniques influence a suspect's perception of the consequences of confessing, such as implying leniency thus contributing to false confessions (Horgan, Russano, Meissner, & Evans, 2012). There are three main interrogation approaches namely direct Approach, negative emotional approach, and positive emotions. This paper will evaluate these different approaches together with a comparison between the traditional and the current police interrogation tactics and techniques. Finally, the paper will address important recommendations that can be made in the legal system to form better techniques and serve the community in a better way.
In every setting criminal suspects will not voluntarily accept they are guilty as such police have to employ indirect questioning techniques that the criminal will eventually confess their crime, though this happens indirectly without the criminal grasp of the whole objective. Police do so to overcome denials and elicit confessions (Feld, 2006). The most preferred techniques are psychological procedures other than physical ones. The psychological interrogation methods have been into existence since the 1940s and still a play the critical role in getting information from suspects (Michels & Wieser, 2018). Though psychological interrogation yields much it should only be designed for on guilty suspects since it can lead false confessions when misapplied to the innocent. There has been an increase of cases where the innocent were convicted due to false confession especially on the high profile cases due to the use of psychological interrogation on the innocent (Drizin & Leo, 2004)
Currently, direct threats, physical violence, and beatings of the suspects have highly reduced compared to the previous decades (Hoeffel, 2007). The suspects are most cases given his rights, and even during the custodial interrogation, they are reminded of their rights. The suspect has the right to remain silent until an attorney is provided or he acquires one. The police use the custodial interrogation which is a negative approach to interrogation and the suspect as it is supposed to create pressure which will eventually undermine the suspect forcing him to speak wherein normal circumstances he would not. It is always a selfish strategy by the police to humiliate the suspect just to get the information they require. Comparing with traditional method and the current practice this method is still used although it has in itself evolved much as citizens learn about their rights (Hoeffel, 2007). The hours taken in the custodial interrogation have reduced, and the questioning is professional. Although there are some cases where the suspect was mishandled this strategy has evolved much with the suspect consideration as per the current approach. When the suspect is not well acquitted of the law and his rights the police might do this for their benefit. Though currently, the suspect is often as possible reminded of his right and in case he wishes to be quiet in the process of interrogation and asks for an attorney to represent him he must be provided with one.
Another strategy used and has been in the system for quite a long time is the promises of leniency or minimization of the punishment if the suspect promises to cooperate and makes confessions (Kassin & McNall,1991). This method is mainly used to reduce the custodial time used and also to conclude on a specific crime easily. The primary role of police interrogation is for the suspect to confess so the sooner he does it, the better and the faster the cases will be solved. This can happen if it was a gang crime and one of them is caught or voluntarily presents himself. The police may use this and promise to waiver some punishments or be lenient compared to the right share supposed to get. This strategy can be used wrongly by the victims since they can cheat for a confession just to get these favors (Kassin & McNall, 1991). Also sometimes they may promise leniency or favors that they cannot deliver thus the suspects end up being misused.
To get rid of the harsh police interrogation tactics and the third-degree tactics, there was the invention of the Reid Technique. It is described and used as a core source of police interrogation as it employs the most effective psychological strategies (Fred Inbau et al., 2013). In the book, it provides all the information and tactics that entails an interrogation. It gives facts on how to develop the case file, how to assess the suspects' motives, how to set an interrogation room that will persuade the suspect to confess and the role of an interrogator. The book provides all the necessary information before the interrogation, during and all activities after an interrogation.
For any police interrogation to bear fruits, it must be done formally, and the interrogator must be well vast with the interrogation procedures. This entails asking the right questions, being able to understand the suspects' behavior beyond what he is communicating and is also well acquitted with the 9-steps in the Reid technique book (Leo, 1996). This book serves as a backbone for interrogation methods and strategies for the last few years. The main reason for the significant success of this strategy unlike the traditional methodology is that it usually persuades a guilty person to tell the truth without causing an innocent person to confess wrongfully. Most of the former strategies like physical harassment did not distinguish the innocent and the guilty and false confession in most cases was paramount.
The 9-steps involved in the Reid technique book are, the first one is the confrontation in this strategy the suspect is confronted with all the substantial evidence gathered both written, unwritten and physical (Kostelnik & Reppucci, 2009). The suspect has the right to accept these charges or reject them. Before this stage the suspect should be left alone in the interrogation room for some time this increases anxiety and stress of not being sure when the police will interrogate. With this period the suspect becomes more vulnerable and easy to confess. Since it's not always possible for one interrogator to see all the behavioral changes that depict dishonesty, through technology the police can install cctvs which a group of other police can be keen to observe the suspects behavior and can indicate inconsistencies (Kassin, et al., 2014) . This will be used in the general conclusion of the case. Another pre-interrogation act is the presentation of the evidence in the interrogation room. When the interrogator has enough evidence but fails to give the suspect, it creates nervousness and anxiety which is a good face for the interrogator gets the first impression depending on this. The time between the arrival of the suspect and the first involvement with the police in the interrogation room is crucial as much can be learned from the gestures and the behavior.
The second step is more so like the first as it involves confrontation (Kostelnik & Reppucci, 2009). The interrogator should use the psychological knowledge to deal with the suspect. This can be done by making sure the suspect answers the question why he committed the crime. With this, the suspect feels the main problem is not why he committed the crime but when and how. This psychological advantage makes the suspect vulnerable and easy to confess. Since the interrogator is not sure whether the suspect is innocent or guilty, this should the chance used to verify this as they observe the behavior and are being hard on the suspect. Then a moral theme is developed. This is mainly done to allow the suspect feel as if the interrogator is on his side and that the circumstances that lead to this crime are well understood by everyone. In this case, the police are only playing with the psychology of the suspect. These themes established should be used for the whole procedure.
The third and fourth step involves handling denials and overcoming objects. In most cases the suspect will typically work for denial either verbal or non-verbal ones, the police should be well acquitted with this process that they can anticipate this denial and solve them accordingly. Objections give the police a better chance to further interrogate the suspect and gather enough information. After these steps, a guilty suspect will be withdrawn as the truth unfolds. This may cause them to be withdrawn either physically or emotionally all the police doing the interrogation should be keen to observe the body language as it usually entails more than is said (Kassin, et al., 2014).
The seventh step I to present options for committing the crime. Since the suspect will want to save his face, he will give excuses and other people who failed thus leading to his actions. This step is then followed by the eighth and ninth step which involves presenting the facts and making the suspect understand everything (Kostelnik & Reppucci, 2009). Then finally he is made to make a written confession of his actions.
In conclusion, it's evident that the past interrogation techniques have been significantly improved and the police department on how to deal with suspects have positively changed. Physical harassment is no more as it was proven to yield fewer results compared to the psychological procedures. The Reid Technique is a psychological approach where the interrogator plays with the mind of the suspect. Comparing the past and the current processes the police department is making more progress, and the suspects are making more honest confessions not like in the past where they did so just to avoid physical harassment and threats. The psychological approach should be implemented in all police departments and when serving people as it has proven more useful than physical threats.
Drizin, S., & Leo, R. A. (2004). The problem of false confessions in the post-DNA world. North Carolina Law Review, 82, 891-1007
Evans, J. R., Houston, K. A., Meissner, C. A., Ross, A. B., LaBianca, J. R., Woestehoff, S. A., & Kleinman, S. M. (2014). An empirical evaluation of intelligence-gathering interrogation techniques from the United States Army field manual. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 28(6), 867-875.
Fred E. Inbau et al., (5th ed. 2013).Criminal Interrogation and Confessions
Hoeffel, J. C. (2007). Miranda's First Principles. Tex. Tech L. Rev., 50, 113.
Kassin, S. M., & McNall, K. (1991). Police interrogations and confessions: Communicating promises and threats by pragmatic implication. Law and Human Behavior, 15, 233-251. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01061711
Kassin, S. M., Kukucka, J., Lawson, V. Z., & DeCarlo, J. (2014). Does video recording alter the behavior of police during interrogation? A mock crime-and-investigation study. Law and Human Behavior, 38, 73- 83. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000047 Kassin, S. M., Leo, R. A., Meissner, C. A., Richman
Kostelnik, J. O., & Reppucci, N. D. (2009). Reid training and sensitivity to developmental maturity in interrogat...
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