The Techniques Of Police Interviewing Criminology Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.


In the 1970s, police needed to address public concern because of the tactics being used during interviewing, as more and more miscarriages of justice came to light. Recent miscarriages of justice in England and Wales show the damaging effects that can happen through poor interviewing of suspects and witnesses which were leading to false confessions and consequently to false convictions. Police officers believed that the main target of the interview with suspects and witness was to gain a confession. Stephenson and Moston (1994) found that 80% of the police interviewers they asked argued that obtaining a confession is a success. In England and Wales the police service and the government have made lot of changes to improve police interviewing and to minimise the percentages of miscarriages of justice. The audio taping of all suspects and witness interviews were introduced by the Criminal and Evidence Act (known as PACE). The introduction of audiovisual content helps the police service to introduce training for police officers to interview in an appropriate way. Prior to the introduction of PACE, the default of legal advice along with use of coercive police interviewing tactics were often considered as central factors in eliciting confessions from suspects (Gudjonsson,1992a). Despite the new legislation (PACE), there were still cases coming to light about miscarriages of justice derived from inappropriate interviewing, such as the ''Cardiff Three'' case. It was clear that a change was needed, a move to a more ethical interviewing techniques and a new concept of fairness, openness and accountability started to appear. The seven principles of investigative interviewing in England and Wales endorsed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Home Office Steering Group on Investigative Interviewing (1992) were developed. These principles were based on concepts of open mindedness, fairness and consideration of vulnerable people; and also the interviewer should focus more on gathering information than just seeking a confession (Williamson, 1994). All these changes led to a standardised framework for ethical interviewing known as PEACE. The model was based on psychological principles and it is important to mention that memory plays an important role to investigative interviewing. These changes and improvements were based on work by psychologists and they were a great importance to society and to police procedures.

Therefore, public perception is an important part of social and political issues. It can change agendas, behaviours and attitudes of social norms. The crucial issue here is where people form their opinion, from which sources and to what extent these sources influence perceptions. Recent studies found a correlation between media, crime and public (Dowler, 2003). Furthermore, people are influenced by media and numerous theories can explain this phenomenon. However, reality is always more extensive and complicated than any system of representation and possibly most people cannot distinguish virtual and real. Representation never ''gets'' reality which is why human history has produced so many different and changing ways of trying to get it. The media reproduce and represent a case in a way that misinforms people.

The aims of this study are:

To represent the techniques of police interviewing.

To show the improvements in police interviewing

Investigate how well people are informed about police interviewing techniques

The objectives of this study are:

To identify police interview techniques in England and Wales.

To identify sources of opinion about police interviewing.

And to identify connections between the media, the police and the public.

Why is this research worth doing?

Public perception gives to political community details about their views and what they really believe in all social aspects, these help politicians and the media as well to set the agendas. Police force is an important part of social cohesion and tranquillity. In the past, miscarriages of justice occurred and as a result of that people developed negative views about the police. At the late 80s' until early 90s' people and society did not trust the police force and consequently the government. It is worth noting that psychology field introduced to police and several improvements changed police system. It is of great importance to research this subject often because people's opinion can help in a case and/or for major issues. Media has effects on the public, due to the fact that most of the people read the press and watch television. Television is not the best teacher of the relative salience of issues (Caragge, 1987). It is vital to know the effect media has on the public and to what extent the media can influence people. This study is intended to demonstrate the techniques that are used by police during the interview, the improvements made so far and to identify where people get information on this subject and how well informed they are.

In Chapter one, we will discuss the history of police interviewing techniques, pre and post PACE, and consider miscarriage of justice cases. In addition, false confessions will be discussed. People's opinion from previous research show their views about police and this will discussed in chapter one. At the end of this chapter, primary improvements in legislation and practises will be shown and analysed such as PACE and Circulars. Chapter two will discuss the PEACE model, what constitute PEACE and how is applied to the field. Two strands of the PEACE model will be explored: the Cognitive interview and Conversation management. Furthermore, an important element of PEACE is memory which is discussed in chapter 2. This will explore how memory works and what is happening if a person forgets, and how interviewers can obtain information from an interviewee. Also, theories that explain how memory is developed are discussed and analysed in this chapter; and how events are stored or not stored in the memory. In chapter three, author will represent how the media influence public's opinion and prove that from previous research. Also, the explanation of why people influence from media and how is based on social and cognitive psychology theories. After chapter three, follows methodology, in which author explain how the sample was chosen, what questions were used, how author analysed the data and how data were applied to the subject. Furthermore, chapter five is basically the results of the research, analysed on SPSS and the results were represent on graphs and figures. Chapter six, is discussion in which author compare the findings of this research within the theories which are in the previous chapters. Also author made critique on the methodology and give recommendations for future research and for more improvements. Conclusion is the last part of this research and it is a brief summary of this work.


History of police interviewing in England and Wales

Interviewing suspects and witnesses is a basic operation of policing all over the world. In England and Wales, pre PACE, historically there was no formal interview training for police officers and officers learnt how to interview through observation of other police officers. Thus, the best evidence of guilt was confessions and theoretically good interviewers were those who could convince suspects to confess to crimes. Police interviews prior 1984 were governed by Judges' Rules, these were just guidelines for the officers who they were allowed to execute interviews unrecorded and then to write a report of the interview from memory. Afterwards, officers' memory of the interview was presented in court from the handwriting report. The dangers of this are self-evident - officers can pick up bad practises or miss valuable information. Eventually investigations can be damaged, disrupted or even destroyed. The secrecy of the police interview room led to widespread concern about the tactics used to extract confessions - things like intimidation, oppression, deception, and even physical violence (Leo, 1992). It has been shown that these tactics can lead to false confessions, in which case a double miscarriage of justice occurs - not only is an innocent person convicted but the true offender remains free (Gudjonsson, 1992). The aim of this chapter is to discuss the old investigative interviewing which led to miscarriages of justice. Also, what was happening to police interviewing, why false confessions were frequent phenomenon and what types of false confessions exist. An important theme is public perception about police interviewing at this historical time. Finally the primary improvements that have been done, such as PACE and Circulars 7 and 22.

Miscarriages of Justice

When the term 'miscarriages of justice' is used, it usually refers to what are called questionable convictions or wrongful convictions. Walker (1999: 52-5) summarises the causes of questionable convictions which are: fabrication of evidence, unreliable identification of an offender by the police or witnesses, unreliable expert evidence, unreliable confessions resulting from police pressure or the vulnerability of suspects, non disclosure of evidence by the police or prosecution, the conduct of the trial and problems associated with appeals procedures. However, the term miscarriages of justice as relating to questionable convictions is itself partly adequate (Adler and Gray, 2010). Consequently, the term can also occur when there is no action, inaction or questionable actions, whereby an offence has taken place but no action or insufficient action or interference has followed. Questionable actions include police unprofessional conduct and lack of ability (e.g, failures to investigate effectively, poor treatment of victims and their family), insufficient prosecution processes (poor communication with police, 'risk avoidance '), and problematic trial practices (hostile cross examination of witness, weak presentation of the prosecution case). Therefore, questionable actions represent police failure to identify suspects and to press charges, the lack of success of the prosecution to mount a case, the collapse of the prosecution case during the trial and as a result, agencies ineffectiveness to inform or support victims and their families (Newburn, Williamson and Wright, 2007).

Traditionally, the primary aim of police investigators has been to obtain a confession from the primary suspect, the confession being seen by officers to be the key of a successful investigation and the predominant means by which a conviction can be secured. To understand why a confession was so pivotal concern it is essential to consider the operation of various systems of justice. In an adversarial system, the judge is considered to be neutral during the trial process and should leave the presentation of the case to the prosecution and defence who prepare their case, call and examine witnesses. According to Zander (1994), the adversarial system is not a search for the truth. The inquisitorial system aim to be a search for the truth, in this system the judge is not neutral but will play critical role in the presentation of the evidence at the trial. The Judge calls and examines the defendant and the witness. While the trial is in progress lawyers for the prosecution and defence can merely ask complementary questions. The Royal Commission stated that 'It is important not to overstate the differences between the two systems because all adversarial systems contain inquisitorial elements and vice versa' (Runciman, 1993). The court was not interested in the truth; it just had to decide whether punishment has been applied beyond all rational doubt. Therefore, it is not surprising that confession evidence had priority and investigators relied on a confession within the investigation process. Certainly, investigators focused on a confession and to attain a confession used coercive methods, allowing the investigation team to move on to the next case. False confessions lead to false convictions, thus police officers reproduced miscarriages of justice within their behaviour and interviewing tactics (Newburn, Williamson and Wright, 2007).

False confessions lead to false convictions

In the UK and other countries, a number of miscarriages of justice have established that false confessions occur and a large number of these are due to factors which exist within the interview context. Kassin and McNall (1991) analysed the tactics described by Inbau, Reid and Buckley (1986) which lead to false confessions; and found two categories: maximisation, where interviewers use scare tactics to intimidate a suspect believe to be guilty and minimisation, where interviewers underrate the offence seriousness and charges. Three categories of false confessions were identified by Gudjonsson and MacKeith (1988) and expanded by Shepherd (1996). These categories are as follows:

Voluntary false confession

Voluntary false confessions occur when the interviewee falsely confesses for personal reason without pressure. Possible reasons that suspect give false confession are: to exempt feelings of guilt about a real or imagined crime or situation in the past (this is most possible to happen for people with depression, Gudjonsson, 1992). To pre-empt further investigation of a more serious offence; to cover up the real culprit; to gain notoriety- a wish to become infamous and to enhance one's self esteem; an inability to distinguish reality from imagination(people with schizophrenia); to take a revenge on another and to hide other non criminal actions.

Coerced-compliant false confession

Coerced-compliant false confessions arise when the interviewee agrees to make a confession in order to make some kind of gain. This category of false confession occur from social influence factor; compliance. Compliance is a change in one's behaviour for contributory purposes, it is first found in Asch's (1956) primary studies of conformity and Milgram's (1974) research on obedience to authority. Interviewee sees the short term advantages of confessing (being released) outweighing the long term costs (such as prosecution and imprisonment). People, who are passable to compliance such as people with learning disabilities, may be especially vulnerable to this type of false confession.

Coerced-internalised false confession

The last category is a coerced-internalised false confession in such cases suspects come to believe that they are guilty because they no longer trust their own memory of certain details. This type of false confession derives from a cognitive effect and refers to the internal acceptance of beliefs held by others. An interviewee who is anxious, tired and confused actually comes to believe he or she committed the crime. The suspect's memory may be altered in interviewing process. This can be linked to the false memory syndrome.

The memory distrust syndrome concerns interviewees who distrust their own memory and consequently depend on external guide for information (in this particular situation -interviewer, Wolchover & Heaton-Amstrong, 1996). This syndrome can be explained in two ways. The first relates to amnesia or memory damage. The interviewee has no clear memory and does not remember if he committed the crime or not. Also he or she does not remember what exactly happened the time of the crime. This may be due to amnesia or alcohol induced memory problems. The second way occurs when the interviewee is aware that he or she did not commit the crime and when the interviewer makes cases, manipulates the interviewee with suggestions. The suspect mistrusts his or her self and start thinking if he or she committed the crime. Ofshe (1989), stated that three common personality characteristics are situated on people who give this type of false confessions. They trust in people of authority, lack of self confidence and heightened suggestibility. Gudjonsson (1997) also argued, '' the false belief and false memories in cases of coerced- internalised false confession are most commonly developed as a result of manipulative interviewing techniques.'' Gudjonsson and Clark (1986) also introduced the theory of suggestibility which is a theoretical model of interrogative suggestibility and arises from a social cognitive viewpoint. It is argued, that most people would be vulnerable to proposals if the needed circumstances of doubt, between people faith and sensitive prospect are there. Implicit in such a model is the assumption that interrogative suggestibility is a distinct type of suggestibility. Gudjonsson also points out that; suggestibility is, to a certain extent, influenced by situational factors and experience. IS is defined as '' the level to which, inside a congested societal interface, people come to agree to messages conducted in proper questioning, as a result of which their following behavioural answer is affected'' (Gudjonsson and Clark, 1986). The IS is comprise two separate susceptibilities: to yield to leading questions, where yielding regards to the reliability of testimony and closely reflects memory processes; and to shift the primary answer in response to negative feedback, where shifting is related to coping process which are mainly affected by personality traits and experience (convicted in past, Gudjonsson, 1992).

The literature on miscarriages of justice highlights the role of coercion in obtaining confessions and the problem with convictions based only or mainly on confessions. Using unfair means and tactics to secure a conviction is sometimes known as noble cause corruption. That is to say, so strong is the desire to achieve a 'correct' conviction that any means to that end are justified. The adversarial process combined with the pressure for a quick result creates noble cause corruption. Resounding examples are Guildford Four and Birmingham Six, which have been described in newspapers as the worst miscarriages of justice in England in the last century. The Guildford four took palce on 5 October 1974, in which members of the Irish Republican Army planted bombs in two public houses in Guildford, Surrey: the Horse Groom and the Seven Stars. The attacks left five people killed and over 100 injured. Kennedy (1989) describes how Conlon, came to sign his confession and what previously happened. Police officers were violent and immoral. As Conlon stated "I was crying and frightened. Simmons said if I didn't make a statement, he would ring Belfast first thing in the morning and I would never see my mother or sister again. The last of my resistance shattered when he said this. I was crying and shaking uncontrollably. I said my family hadn't done anything. I fell apart. Simmons said what happened to my family was up to me. I said I would make a statement like they wanted, but it wouldn't be true as I really didn't do it" (Kennedy, 1989). The four men spent 15 years in prison before the case was overturned in 1989 after a new police investigation had found serious flaws in the way Surrey police noted the confessions of the four: that the notes taken were not written up immediately and officers may have colluded in the wording of the statements (Gudjonsson, 2003). Another event happened as it was called ''The Birmingham Six'', after one month when Guildford four took place, namely on 21 November 1974. Two public houses In Birmingham were bombed by the IRA in which 21 people were killed and more than 160 were injured. Six men were convicted for this crime and they were released after 16 years (in 1991) Scientists admitted in court that forensic tests which were originally said to confirm two of the six had been handling explosives could have produced the same results from handling cigarettes (Gudjonsson,2003). In Guildford four, the confessions that had been central of their conviction in 1975 were shown to be unreliable and in, sometimes fabricated. In the second case, Birmingham Six, the confession was discredited. Thomas Heron, who was on trial for the murder of a young girl, was acquitted when the interviews, which led to his confession, were dismissed by the trial judge as oppressive. In this case interviews were recorded in compare of Guildford Four and Birmingham Six in which the interviews were not recorded.

The Police Studies Institute Report found (1983) that the most widespread opinion about police interviewing and the most popular police misconduct is that police officers threatening and the use of unfair pressure. Around fifty percent of the respondents believed that police use threats and pressure at least sometimes but the more important is twenty five percent thought that it often happens and this was a usual behaviour of police officers. A de facto percentage of Londoners believed that other kinds of misconduct happened at least once in a while. Around ten percent of Londoners thought police officers fabricate evidence and use inexcusable violence on people were detained at police stations. The findings of this research showed the public perception which was negative and critical against police. . The majority of Londoners had serious doubt about police conduct. People did not trust police interviewing, it showed that there was a complete lack of confidence and reliability (Smith 1983: 325). One third of young white people thought the police often used threats or unreasonable pressure during custodial questioning while 62 per cent of young people of West Indian descent believed that they did so. Therefore, people were critical of police where they had a high degree of conduct with the police or they were subject to a high level of victimisation (Jones et al, 1986). The successful appeals of Guildford Four and Birmingham Six and the acquittal of Heron received widespread publicity and brought heavy criticism of the police and affected public opinion. A general public survey found that 73 per cent of the participants believed that the police broke the rules to obtain convictions (Williamson, 1991). By 1993 police interviews were described as a grave concern (Shepherd 1993). These surveys provide a rich picture of the nature and quality of the relationship between the citizen and the police in the past (Williamson, 2005).

By the 1970s and 1980s in England and Wales it was clear that the legitimacy of the criminal justice system was at stake. Something had to be done. This became the focus of policy making. Such were the concerns that the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure (1981) was set up, in turn leading to the passing in 1984 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) a key piece of legislation to monitor, amongst other things, the integrity of evidence production (Maguire, 2003) Through PACE (enacted 1986), police interviews with suspects were to be tape-recorded. This, it was hoped, meant the old regime of police investigations would be brought to an end and police interviews should be open to scrutiny (Lea, 2004). PACE suggested that investigation should separate from prosecution and should have an independent investigation service. Scientists with educational background should work in these laboratories and help the police to investigations and police officers had to be trained. All police knowledge about police interviewing is grounded on experience rather than purpose and scientific data. Experience is inestimable to police work and its helpfulness is depicted by the success of the techniques suggested. However, based only upon experience in formative procedure may produce severe pitfalls and be unsuccessful to get to light vital evidence about individual behaviour, such as the vulnerability of some suspects to give mistaken information when positioned beneath interviewing stress. What is essential is more research into the usefulness and traps of different interviewing techniques. Also they argued that forensic laboratories should be independent from police.

The effectiveness of Pace is debatable, on the one hand McConville and colleagues suggested in 1991 that little of police interviews had changed especially in relation to 'interrogative suggestibility'. Namely, the tape recording of interviews had not changed the power relations in the whole interview process, principally the fact that "Interrogation takes place in an environment which increases the vulnerability of the suspect and maximises the authority and control of the police" (1991, p78). On the other hand, Ede and Shepherd (2000, p109) stated that ''tape recording of PACE interviews led to a sharp decline in forceful interviewing and revealed the widespread ineptitude of police officers in the interviewing role" In the same concept Milne and Bull (2003) report experience officers views. ''Since the 1986 introduction of PACE regarding audio-taping interviews with suspects, police interviews have become better planned, more structured, and the use of trickery and deceit has all but vanished" (p121) .

PACE seems to have noticeably restricted the number of scheming and convincing techniques that police officers apply when interviewing suspects, except perhaps in the most serious cases (Milne and Bull, 1999). Fascinatingly, there seems to have not been any generally effects on the confession rate of suspects. The reason that police interviewing was still poor (Baldwin, 1992) was because of police role in the investigation of offences was still one of persuading suspects to confess rather than engaging in a process of inquiry, which was a search for the truth. The persistence on confession evidence also meant that witness and victims were often ignored, not seen as an important part of the investigation process, consequently were not interviewed methodically and so were not capable to present all the information they were competent of giving as evidence (Adler and Grey, 2010). Obviously, there was a need for a change of investigative interviewing to meet the ideals of the new legislation and to prevent challenges to the evidence achieved through questioning. This constituted in the establishment of a national committee on investigative interviewing that involved police officers, lawyers and psychologists. That result was the beginning of the PEACE interviewing model (Milne et al, 2007).



Investigative Interviewing

In spite of the establishment of PACE, large number of interviews were informally trained and learnt on the job. This partly explains nation why judges believed some interview behaviour was unsuitable and unacceptable (see chapter 1). Public confidence in the police service was compromised and it was necessary to train its officers in an effort to ameliorate interviewing performance. This perception of police interviewing led to the development of the investigative interviewing ethos and the PEACE training model. The term interrogation was relinquished in an effort to confront the confession culture and to change the interviewers' behaviour during investigations and to avoid the old, traditional tactics. Moreover the literature on investigative interviewing indicates little continuity in the use of the terms 'interviewing' and 'interrogation', although the latter is only linked with the interviewing of suspects. For instance, early findings show information on techniques that police could use to try to convince a person to confess trended to use the term 'interrogation' , in England and Wales, although the term interrogation was not used but police officers used the same practises when interviewing (see for example Inbau, Reid & Buckley, 1986). Yeschke (2003) stated that "The goal of interviewing is to collect truthful data to be used for informed decision-making and just action-taking. An interrogation, on the other hand, is a face-to-face meeting with a subject with the distinct objective of gaining an admission or a confession in a real or apparent violation of law or policy". Thus it shows that interrogation is limited and inefficient to gather accurate information during the interviewing. The transition from interrogation to investigative interviewing represents a new trend in police questioning (Williamson, 1993). This change of terms is an important first step to changing the interviewing behaviour of investigators from an oppressive, suggestive, closed- questioning way related with assumptions of guilt to a more open- minded, open questioning search of truth (Milne & Bull, 2003).

The Home Office and ACPO decided that there was a need for a national training course to teach this new ethical approach to interviewing. This was set out in Home Office Circular 22 (see Chapter 1). This was followed by Home Office Circular 7 (Home Office, 1993), which introduced a new training package for initial interviewing skills (two booklets on investigative interviewing: A guide to interviewing (Home Office, 1992a), The interviewer's rule book (Home Office, 1992b)). Home Office Circular 7 and Home Office Circular 22 were followed up by a national training programme where firstly officers with 6-10 years service went through a five day investigative interviewing training course known as PEACE, subsequently, all officers trained. PEACE, first letters mean: Planning and Preparation, Engage and Explain, Account, Closure and Evaluation. All interviews, whether with victims, witnesses or suspects, are 'investigative interviews'.

Planning and Preparation

According to the CPTU (1992a, p1 cited in Milne & Bull, 1999, p159) planning is "the mental process of getting ready to interview" and preparation is "considering what needs to be made ready prior to interview [including] such things as the location, the environment and the administration". Numerous authors, (eg. McGurk et al, 1993; Milne &Bull, 1999; Ord et al, 2004) describe the essential elements of good planning which are: a) Understanding the meaning and the importance of the interview. b) Get as much background information as possible on the event under investigation, containing (for suspects) information on the person to be interviewed. c) Defining the aims and objectives of the interview. d) Understanding and recognising the points to prove assessing what evidence is available and from where it was obtained. e) Assessing what evidence is needed and how it can be obtained. f) Understanding the legislation and associated guidelines and considerations. g) Preparing the mechanics of the interview (attending to exhibits, logistics, venue, equipment functioning, seating, and so on). As the planning is an initial trait of the PEACE model, it suggested that the greater the planning and preparation of an interview the more effective and efficient that interview will be (Bull & Cherryman, 1995).

Engage and Explain

This stage is crucial to the success of an interview. The essential element of engagement is an introduction appropriate to the circumstances of the interview. A professional and appropriate relationship needs to be formed between interviewer and interviewee (McGurk, Carr & McGurk, 1993). Ord et al (2004), summarises the crucial step which the interviewer have to do. Creating a good thought from the outset has more results. Courtesy, politeness and understanding, cost nothing but can greatly contribute to a successful interview" (p16). Behave and deal with the interviewee as an individual and equal: "Interviewers who take the time to find out needs and concerns, and take steps to address them, are much more likely to succeed in interviews than those who either do not take the time to identify them or choose to ignore them" (p17). Be able to understand the feelings of the person being interviewed: "Empathy [means] to understand how the other person feels while maintaining an objective being interviewed stance" (p18). Interviewer have to explain the reason for the interview: "The importance of the interviewee's knowledge in assisting the investigation should be emphasised, in order for interviewees to identify their crucial role in the investigation and appreciate what is required of them" (p18). Giving instructions and description of the procedures means that you give reason to an interviewee "Once an interviewee understands that there and are good reasons for the routines and accepts they must be followed to make best use of their information, their understanding can contribute to information of a higher quality" (p18). Circumscribe the format and style of the interview: [Tell them that] "… the interviewee will be invited to give an account in their own words of the matter under investigation; the interviewer will then seek to clarify the account by asking supplementary questions; the interviewee will next be asked to comment on individual matters which have not been covered or adequately explained; the interviewer will verbally summarise what has been said at regular intervals to check for correct interpretation" (p19).

Ground rules also should be demonstrated by interviewers (NCOF, 2003; Ord et al, 2004). For example, the officer should tell witnesses: a) that all details are important and they have to report everything, every single detail and to try to not leave something behind b) do not edit anything as they go even if they believe that some information is not important or has not any relevance to the matter being investigated, c) they will be working hard, because they have information, d) that they should feel free to say if the officer: asks a question they do not understand, asks a question they do not know the answer, to misunderstands what the witness has said , asks a leading or otherwise inappropriate question, e) that when they give their account, the officer will continue to ask questions to illustrate the facts. The important element of engagement is an introduction appropriate to the circumstances of the interview. A proper relationship needs to be formed between interviewer and interviewee (McGurk, Carr & McGurk, 1993). This stage can be characterised as 'training' phase in which interviewer makes interviewees to get used to what they expect of them later (Milne, 2004). It therefore permits the interviewer to evaluate the interviewee's communication abilities and qualify his or her own language, sentence structure and length. Rapport is an essential trait in the success of an interview (Koehnken, 1995) and is supported in many forces. McGurk, Carr &McGurk (1993), found that officers ranked rapport as being the fourth most important interviewing skill. Research has shown that interviewers often omit this important phase of the interview (Moston &Engleberg, 1993).


Questioning skills are crucial for the end account to be precise and credible (Milne & Bull, 1999). It is essential for interviewers to be aware that interviewees can move from being cooperative to uncooperative and vice versa, and be able to change appropriately (Milne & Bull,1999). For cooperative victims, witnesses and suspects the interviewer will use the free recall technique for lower level interviews and enhanced cognitive interviewing techniques for advanced interviews. For uncooperative interviewees the interviewer will probably rely on the conversation management techniques. Being fully alert during the interview, the officer should be able to notice changes in the interviewee's speech and manners and adopt his or her approach as needed. After letting the subject to give their report, the interviewer may need to illustrate the witness's account or confront the suspect's report. This may happen because the officer is uncertain about something the interviewee has reported, or because the information is conflicting with other evidence in the officer's possession (MPS, 2001). Appropriate challenging is necessary when an interviewer has an impression that there is a reason to challenge. When challenging is required, the interviewer needs to consider the timing of the challenge, needs to use explanation seeking approach and needs to request for clarification of changes in an ethical and professional way (Milne & Bull, 1999).


Assessments have sometimes found that officers avoid the closing of an interview (Clarke and Milne, 2001). Closure is also an important phase of interviewing in which interviewers should clarify that there is common understanding about what has taken place (by revising and summarising the report), confirm that all aspects have been sufficiently covered (by examining that interviewees have given all the information they are able and eager to give), give details what will occur in the future (by providing the interviewee appropriate information on the next stages of the procedure e.g., telling witnesses whether or not they will have to be present at court), facilitate a positive outlook towards providing accurate and trustworthy information in the future (this will be different according to if the interviewee is a suspect or witness) (Milne & Bull, 1999)


This step occurs after the PEACE interview. It is where the interviewer i) consider whether the aims and objectives for the interview have been achieved ii) examines the information gained during the interview iii) scrutinises how well he or she managed the interview and examines what improvements could be made in future (CFIS, 2004; MPS, 2001; NCF, 1996). Milne and Bull (1999) consider the possibilities or utility of the third step given the force of police cultures in preventing police officers from understanding their interviewing ineffectiveness or accepting they are less than sure. This doubt is linked Baldwin's (1992) findings that police officers are in general poor at estimating their own interviewing capabilities. In many occasions summaries provided a '' shaky and unsatisfactory account of what took place'' (Baldwin & Bedward, 1991; pp. 672-673).

Effectiveness of PEACE model

The one-week PEACE training package developed in 1992 was designed to help police officers maximise the significance, fullness and trustworthiness of the information gained in interviews (Shaw, 1996a). It was a mixture of theory and practice, and included a variety of teaching aids such as videotaped scenarios, fake crime scenes and the use of actors to play suspects and witnesses. This gave students the chance to perform what they were being taught (Rigg, 1999). First and foremost the idea was to bring the course to officers within the two to six-year service band. Having been well received and quickly verifying its worth, however, the package was eventually extended to all working staff. Evaluation of PEACE has been made by only few researchers. The earliest evaluation was to a great extent positive and findings showed that knowledge and skills of interviewing improved after training and the improvements were evident of progress (McGurk, Carr &McGurk,1993). There was a general agreement that PEACE model gave an excellent basis for investigative interviewing, however, later evaluations brought to light problems with the application of this model (Milne & Bull, 1999). There was strong evidence of poor questioning methods, inadequate interpersonal skills, deficient support for trainers, poor quality control of interviews (Clarke and Milne, 2001).

Interviewing Witness and Victims - Theories of Memory

In order to understand the principles of appropriate interviewing and how it works, it is first necessary to appreciate how memory works and what causes forgetting. Memory is an enormous body of knowledge that we all have about the world and it allows us to do many things. Firstly, it holds our general knowledge, such as World War II, which is termed as semantic memory. Memory includes information which allows as performing skills and abilities, such as playing a game, this is procedural memory. Memory for exact events for example what happened the last time you went to cinema. This is called episodic memory. Witness testimony is primarily deal with episodic memory, the witness is asked to recall a particular incident. The two memory systems episodic - semantic are not totally divided (Milne& Bull, 1999). An episodic memory may be completed and defined in the light of knowledge saved in semantic memory. The episodic/semantic separation is important because when witness testimony is being assessed, it is helpful to be cleared what aspects of the witness's account are based on direct familiarity and what are being concluded from previously learned semantic knowledge. Memory is a multifaceted phenomenon which is concerned with many alternative types of information. "Human memory is cluttered. Memories don't get lost so much as they become distorted or hard to find. We may like to say that we've lost something - but often, an hour later, it pops uninvited into our consciousness, where it has been lurking all along. The serious difference between computer and human memory is that we don't pop out a pristine copy of the original event, the way a computer does. Instead, we reconstruct things as best we can from all the clutter. We guess. Often that isn't good enough, especially for a fair judicial process. Or just one's self respect; it's embarrassing to be badly wrong and we'll deny an error even to ourselves" (Loftus & Calvin, 2001).

Psychologists made a useful division between three memory processes that form a subsequence of stages. These are encoding, storage, retrieval. The encoding is the stage at which information is obtained. Before it is encoded, information is noticed by the sense of organs and imports the sensory stores, before it is encoded. (Ainsworth, 1998). However, only a small part of the information that is displayed in a complicated scene is collected and encoded, this is known as selective attention (Heaton-Armstrong, Stepherd, Wolchover, 1999). It is important to say that memory is divided in two parts, to short term memory and to long term memory. The information that is selected for encoding is transferred to a short term memory. At this stage an inside, intellectual representation of the outward event is made and this may take different forms. The way information is encoded defines how strong the memory is and how the information can be retrieved later (Heaton-Armstrong, Stepherd, Wolchover, 1999). Craik and Lockhart (1972) divided between deep and shallow levels of processing. Shallow processing includes encoding importation in terms of their physical characteristics such as colour or sound. Deep processing compromises encoding in terms of sense and personal significance and there is investigational evidence that coding creates more long-lasting memories. Memory is also empowered and enhanced by elaborative encoding. Deep level processing includes an analysis of the meaning of what had happened and trying to link the event with past experiences and knowledge that already exists. In case where the encoding takes the form of deep elaborative processing and context encoding is included, then it is much easier to recall the event (Ainsworth, 1998). During the encoding process, some information is already stored in semantic memory as prior knowledge from past experience. This is called as top-down or conceptually driven processing (Heaton-Armstrong, Stepherd, Wolchover, 1999). Sensory information is often partial although stored knowledge helps to direct our anticipations, to accomplish the gaps and to provide an interpretation. These two sources of information, sensory data and stored knowledge, combine so instantaneously and so automatically that it is very difficult to disconnect them and isolate the contribution of each. This is why it may be impossible to decide what witnesses actually saw and what they thought they must have seen (Ainsworth, 1998).

Schema theory provides a theoretical description of significant universality for lots of phenomena in casual memory. It intones the key role of prior knowledge and past experience, suggesting that what people remember is affected from the prior knowledge and past experience. According to schema theory the existing knowledge which is stored in semantic memory is organised as knowledge structures, which present the general knowledge about objects, events or actions that has been obtained from past experience. The idea of schemata was introduced by Barlett (1932), he was motivated to find an explanation why and when people remember or why they skip some details or remakes the story in a way to make sense in terms of their own knowledge and experience (Ainsworth, 1998). The important part of schema theory is the prediction of what is normal, typical, or relevant with pre existing knowledge will be remembered more than what is unexpected, bizarre or irrelevant. Moreover, some factors affect the encoding of complex events. An important factor is the condition in which witness or victim is. The quality of recall is largely effected by the interplay between the witness or the victim and the to-be-remembered (TBR) event. Studies have shown that substances users, such as alcohol and cannabis, do not remember all the details of the event (Yuille and Tollestrup, 1990, Thomson, 1995a). Stress is another factor influencing witness memory. Stress interacts with memory in a complex way including lots of factors which are responsible for the influence of memory. Although due to ethical issues this topic is difficult to research. There is evidence that the violence which is linked with a crime may influence the encoding and consequently storage of event information. The relationship between violence and recall performance is complex. Studies have shown that is a correlation between participation and testimony , but comparing involved witness and uninvolved, involved witness give more details about the crime (Yuille & Tollerstrup, 1992, Cohen & Faulkner, 1988). However other studies found that witness involvement has no effect on witness recall (Farrington & Lambert, 1993, Roberts & Blades, 1998). Furthermore, the brain obviously cannot collect all information at any one time, for example events and images or sounds that are encoded because we attended to these. Selective attention is related and dependant with a person's knowledge, expectancy, interests and past experience. Thus, different people will selectively attend to different parts of the same a TBR event. Owing to factors relating to attention, an interviewee has available only a limited amount of information about an event (Kohnken, 1995). Some of the information will not have been attended to. Consequently, no interview technique will be able to elicit information which was never stored in memory in the first instance.

Psychologists have emphasised the important distinction between storage failure and retrieval failure. With storage failure the information has dropped out of the memory system and the memory trace is permanently lost or was not stored in the first place. This is known as trace -dependent forgetting. Storage failures happen even if items have been encoded. In the short term store items may be replaced by new admissions and experience which constitute insertion or they may be simply forgotten. On the one hand, it is very difficult to prove that information may decay or lost in memory, on the other hand it is easier to prove interference theory. There are two types of interference. Proactive interference happens when old information intervenes with a new memory. Retroactive interference works in the reverse direction thus the new information disrupts earlier memories. A recent model (Metcalfe, 1990), known as the composite holographic associative recall model (CHARM) is based on neural models of memory in which memory tracks are divided and form complex archetypes. The model has been applied and simulates the kind of confused memories produced by eyewitness when they have been stated to false or misleading information about the witnessed event. However in retrieval failure, the information is in memory but cannot be retrieved. In retrieval stage there are three different types of remembering: free recall, cued recall and recognition. Recognition occurs when something that has been in the past conducted (a face, a voice) is re-conducted and is acknowledged as familiar. Recognition may include full identification, so that people know whose face or whose voice it is. Tests of recognition may take the form of yes/no questions or forced choice questions. In free recall the information which is targeted not re-conducted but it has to bring up from the memory. This happens the most times when interviewees have to answer an open question or to give a statement about everything they remember about the event. Essentially, interviewer cannot help the interviewee to answer a question. In cued recall, it is recalled in response to a specific question. Cues operate as reminders and may take many forms such as smell, a scene, a movie title. More often in everyday life we remember in response to cues in the form of descriptions (Do you remember when we were in Barcelona?). As a general rule, acknowledgment is easier than recall and cued recall is easier than free recall. In retrieval failures, information is often maintained in long term memory but cannot be accessed in order. According to the encoding specificity principle (Tulving and Thomson, 1973) cues are only useful if they have been encoded at the time of the original experience so the 'terrific storm' cue will only be successful when recalling the event, if the event was encoded as part of a specific inscription. Furthermore, sometimes people are unable to retrieve a piece of information but they often have a feeling-of-knowing (FOK). There is a ranging from definitely do not know to could most likely recall if given time, people are able to make this graded decision and it is obvious that people's minds need time. According to Koriat (1993), the FOK is based on some information about the answer that is under the level of mindful consciousness. The findings on the nature of FOK decisions are possibly appropriate to witness testimony because the power of the FOK nominates whether it is worth searching for missing information


Reports made by interviewees depend on the questioning styles used in interviews. There are several classes for interviewing; the most important are: open-ended, closed, probing, leading, misleading, forced-choice and multiple questions. Open-ended and closed questions are subject to a suitable type of questioning. For information gathering purposes and evidence, open-ended questions are more convenient to use. An example of an open-ended question is: "Describe everything that happened in the shop?" Such questions provide longer and more precise answers from interviewees. Closed questions are often used to ascertain legal points usually by giving the interviewee possible values like yes or no. Closed questions should be used to obtain general information wherever the use of open-ended questions has failed to do so. Probing questions are defined as more intrusive and require a more specific answer, usually commencing with the active words 'who', 'what', 'why', 'where', 'when', 'which' or 'how' (Milne & Bull, 1999). These are appropriate when obtaining further details following an earlier report. The remaining question types are defined as unproductive and are associated with poor questioning. The difference between a leading and misleading question concerns the character of the implied answer. The first leads the interviewee to a correct answer whereas the second leads the interviewee to an incorrect answer. Forced-choice questions, leave interviewees only a small number of alternatives from which to choose and which may, in fact, not include the correct option (e.g. Did you struggle or stab your victim?). Multiple questions make up a number of sub-questions asked at once. The main problem with this type of questions is that people do not know which part of it to answer. The last inappropriate and unproductive type of question is the statement/ opinion in which the interviewer expressed his/her opinion on the question. In investigative interviewing, the interviewer is not sure which of the two types of question he or she is asking. During the procedure, mistakes are inevitable and it appears that witnesses can be led into false reports of events (Milne & Bull, 1999).

Explaining how important is memory and it can be used to obtain useful information about the event, it is now initial to discuss about the two major techniques that PEACE model suggests. They can be used by the interviewer to help and encourage the interviewee to talk and give all the useful information that investigators need. These two techniques are Conversation Management (CM) and Cognitive Interview (CI).

Conversation Management

Conversation Management can be used for uncooperative interviewees, the most time are suspects but may also include witness (Williamson, Milne and Savage,2009).This technique is planned to awake interviewers from their own prejudices and use of stereotypes in the interview scenario. Using CM, interviewer takes more control over interviewee's responses. This technique undertakes to surpass the declamatory approach of old police interviews where the interviewer had made up his opinion about the suspect's guild and the interview is just to obtain a confession (Webber,2010). CM aims to eliminate three problems of traditional police interviewing. Those are Premature closure which is procedure when the interviewer pre empts the answers before given. This was happening because police officers read a case file and use their own experience to predict the answers. As a result, Confirmation bias occur, where the interviewers keep just those aspects that the interviewee said that fit to their opinions and erase elements that may be useful to the investigation process because they do not fit to their beliefs (Milne & Bull, 1999).Another similar problem is Defensive avoidance, where perspectives of the case file that do not fit to their opinions are avoided. CM is based on the ACCESS system. Assess, is the stage that interviewer begin the process by reading the case file and compose an action plan. At this point investigator should not avoid any information and to conclude to premature closure. Collect and Collate, is the stage that interviewer use audio recording and note taking collect all the data in a reliable way. Evaluate, is the stage that all the data are collected and interviewer check if all the details make sense between one's testimony with another's. Survey, in this stage all the information must be seen together, thus a view can be taken on the gravity of the evidence and to find out different hypothesis. Summary is a production of an overview of the case and recommendations for further investigation (Milne & Bull, 1999, Webber,2010). The major aim of CM is to make the suspect to say as much information as they can, thus the police can check the information and compare to other interviews to see if they have any anomalies in the story (Webber,2010).

Cognitive interview

A set of four instructions consists the CI, which are given to the interviewee by the interviewer. (Fisher, Geiselman, & Amador, 1989).These instructions are based on psychological theories. The CI is used basically for cooperative interviewees, mostly witness and victims. Foremost, that a retrieval cue is effective to the extent that encoded information and the retrieval cue are partly covered and that restoration of the original encoding context increases the accessibility of stored information. Secondly, people's memory is made up with a network of associations and as a result, there provide several means which memory could be cued, this is suggested by the multiple trace theory. Consequently, information that is not accessible by one retrieval technique, it may be accessible by another. The four assumptions are: a) The report everything instruction where the interviewer encourages interviewees to report everything they remember without editing, even if the interviewees think the details are not important or insignificant, or cannot remember completely a particular aspect of TBR event. b) The mental reinstatement of context, this instruction asks interviewees to restructure in their mind the context, both physical and personal features of the witnessed event. c) Recall in a variety of chronological orders. At this stage, interviewees have already narrated the TBR event in their own order, the interviewer should support the interviewee to recall the event using a range of different orders; for example, from the end to the beginning of the TBR event and working backwards and forwards in time from the most unforgettable aspect of the event. d) Change perspective technique. People have a tendency to report events from their own psychological perspective (Fisher & Geiselman, 1992). The cognitive interview change perspective instruction asks the interviewee to recall the event from the perspective of another person who was present. One limitation of the original CI was that it did not provide much guidance concerning the overall structure of the interview. The ECI (enhanced cognitive interview) provides a structure which specifies the sub-goals of the beginning, middle and end of the interview. It has seven phases (Greet and Rapport, Explain the aims of the interview, Initiate a free report, Questioning, Varied and extensive retrieval, Summary and Closure) and each phase of the interview procedure makes a contribution towards ensuring the success of the interview as a whole (Geiselman & Fisher, 1997).

Interviewing vulnerable people

Vulnerable people include children, children and adults with learning disabilities, people with mental illness, people with English as a second language, the elderly and highly traumatised witness and victims. The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 is the UK legislation that concerns vulnerable witness and victims (see PACE 1984). The definition of vulnerable dealt with under Sections 16 and 17 of the Act and vulnerable witness are defined as: children under 17 years of age at the time of hearing; and people whose quality of evidence is likely to be diminished because they: a) have mental disorder (as detailed under the Mental Health Act 1983) b) have a significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning; or c) have a physical disability or are suffering from a physical disorder.

Children appear as witnesses in both criminal and civil cases. Researchers have established that children's minds interact with their physical and inter-personal environment (Fischer and Bullock, 1984). Therefore, it makes sense to conceptualise children's accuracy or suggestibility as witnesses, not only as something children are not capable of because of their level of cognitive development, but also as reflecting a particular context (Batterman-Faune and Goodman, 1993:303). In a number of countries legislation has recently been brought in to allow criminal courts to receive the evidence of children. The introduction of the Memorandum of Good Practise on Video Recorded Interviews with Child Witnesses for Criminal Proceedings (Home Office, 1992) formed part of general review of the rules governing the reception of evidence by children at court. The memorandum has a number of sections, some of these are concerned with the rules of evidence, what to do before the interview and what to do after the interview. The largest section is entitled ''Conducting the Interview'' and this recommends a phased approach involving: a) Rapport b) Free narrative c) questioning (involving: open-ended questions, specific yet non-leading questions, closed questions, then leading questions), d) Closure (Home Office, 2002).

Heydon (1984), a lawyer, provided a summary of reasons aiming to validate the then lawful doubt about children's declaration. As Heydon argued a child's control of examination and memory are less trustworthy than adults. However from a psychologist's perspective this is not true. It is argued that young children usually account even less than older children or adults but they are no less precise (Poole &White,1991,1993; Poole and Lamb, 1998). Therefore, people with learning disabilities have been considered as untrustworthy witnesses because it is supposed that their memory systems are naturally faulty. It is assumed that they are vulnerable to proposal and lack the skills to correctly report events (Perlman, Ericson, Esses, & Isaacs; Milne, 1999). However, information that is reported by LD witnesses is not automatically less correct (Bull 1995a; 1995b) and although the quantity of research is narrow, it does not suggest that people with LD make or imagine whole events (Bull & Cullen, 1993; Milne, 1999). Much professional experience and published research now exist on the conduct of the phased interview with vulnerable people and have found that it produces a good balance between quality and quantity of information elicited from an interviewee. The phased interview normally consists four phases (rapport, free narrative recall; questioning; closure). These phases are compatible with the underpin the PEACE interview framework advocated by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) (CJS, 2007). The basic goal of an interview with a witness of any age is to obtain an accurate and truthful account in a way which is fair, is in the witness's interests and is acceptable to the court.

There are strong evidence that media plays an important role in people's life. Media represents facts that are happening in life. But sometimes they represent a negative fact in a way that influences public's opinion. For example some problems associated with the Memorandum were represented by media in dramatic way. Community Care in February 1998 wrote about child abuse victims: Child abuse victims are still not getting special treatment to help them give evidence in court. This view had negative effects on public opinion and in next chapter we will analyse media effects on public' opinion (Aldridge and Wood, 2002).

Chapter 3-

Media and Public perception

Crime stories and representations are, and have always been, a popular focus of the mass media. The percentage of media content that is constituted by crime images and stories obviously will depend on the definitions of 'crime' used. A glimpse at the television guide, the movies listings in the cinema, or press headlines, will highlight both the interest the general population has in crime and criminals, and the key role the media play in describing all features of criminal behaviour. People are excited with crime and justice (Howitt, 1998). From films, books, newspapers, magazines, television broadcasts, to everyday talks, we are continuously participating in crime "talk". A large amount of this crime will be fictional, others, 'real life', and our enthusiasm for reading and watching about both seems to be evident. Television documentaries, news programmes and local or national newspapers emphasise and discuss crime and criminal justice issues on an everyday basis. Stories about crime are a more limited proportion of news, varying according to medium (e.g. radio, television, or print journalism) and market (e.g. 'quality' or 'popular' journalism). In this chapter we will analyse how the media influence public opinion through social cognitive theory and information processing theory.

Research on Media Effects

The public's knowledge and understanding of crime, criminal justice, police forces and police investigations, is often derived from the media and is greatly based on what they have watched or heard through various media forms (Jewkes, 2011). More generally, it is not feasible for people to know everything about society through their own experience thus the media has the role of informing and entertaining people. It is important to say that several studies have found a correlation between people views about crime and the criminal justice system, and the media. Dorfman (2001) found that 76 percent of the public said they modulated their opinions about crime from what they see or read in the news compared to those who get their primary information on crime from personal experience at 22 percent. It is not surprising that the academic interest in the field of criminology and criminal justice is growing as studies show