Recommendations for interviews and interrogations.
This article is written for those who have to conduct these very interrogations. Methods of psychological pressure. The basics of human psychology. It’s extremely interesting to read.
Recommendations for interviews and interrogations.
The purpose of the interview and interrogation.
When you enter a room with an interrogator, your goal is to get information from him or get a confession to establish the facts of the case, and his goal is to try to hide that information. A contest is about to begin in which two characters, two intelligences, will clash, a contest that will require persistence on your part. It is the duty of the investigator to treat each case with an open mind. Take into account the material evidence and any information that you may learn from the suspect during the interview or interrogation. At the interview stage, the suspect should be allowed to answer questions freely, and you will only listen, so that you can normalise the situation.
Preparing the interview room
Take notes all the time, but do not reveal to the suspect what is important and what is not. He will be watching you as closely as you are watching him. Keep him in the dark as to what you are doing. A guilt/ innocence table should be maintained when conducting the event. This is a simple tool based on the consideration of a number of factors that would indicate to an experienced investigator the guilt or innocence of a suspect. No single factor in isolation is decisive, but together they can be very helpful. If there is an indicator, make a note on one side of the notebook or the other. If it is an indicator of guilt, make a pencil mark on the right side of the notebook; if there is an indicator of innocence, make a pencil mark on the left side.
Behavior types that are recorded in the table:
-You summon a suspect for questioning and he doesn’t ask what it’s about.
-If a suspect calls you one to two times before the scheduled time to see if the interview has been cancelled.
-If the suspect does not come alone (using another person as a screen, seeking to limit the amount of time he or she can meet you).
-If the suspect brings a doctor’s note confirming his innocence.
-If the suspect is late for a meeting (no matter what the reason).
When you summon a person, they say they expected to be summoned because of their involvement in some way (works, lives where the crime took place, knows someone, etc.).
-In the first minutes, he is summoned to tell everything he knows about the crime/statement.
-Denies his involvement from the very first minutes.
When communicating with the suspect, you should be polite and courteous. Do not try to frighten or intimidate him, or he will become withdrawn. If you are polite and correct with him, it will embarrass him a bit. Most people spend too much time watching TV and think they are going to be interrogated under the bright light of a lamp and the shouting of an interrogator. Being polite confuses them. The investigator should not shake hands unless it is extended to him or her. A strong handshake confirms that YOU are the master of the situation. At this stage, it is very important to listen carefully to answers to innocent, calm questions. Pay attention to how the suspect speaks, how loudly and quickly he answers, and most importantly, how he gestures. Then, when you begin to ask serious questions, you will build on your first observations as a foundation. Always ask to speak louder during the conversation, referring to the fact that you have a bit of a cold and your ears are getting stuffy. It is usually advisable to film conversations/interrogations with a hidden camera on videotape, and the volume will help later in transcribing. This is also useful because when you get to the tough questions, the guilty suspect will often lower his voice to almost a whisper.
What to watch out for during the behavioural normalisation phase. (techniques by which the perpetrator tries to disarm the investigator).
Demonstrating excessive respect: The suspect wants to please and show how much he respects you.
Attempted contact. The suspect speaks of acquaintance with other police officers; the perpetrator’s display of affection often goes beyond what is reasonable.
Changes in speech. Answering simple questions, speaks normally. When complex ones start, he starts mumbling and stuttering.
-When answering difficult questions, he speaks at a faster pace (he does not want to answer such questions, so he tries to skip them at speed).
Voice volume changes noticeably when it comes to the incident/crime:
-Voice is interrupted (it happens involuntarily, the person himself does not notice it).
-Dry mouth. Licking his lips.
-Nervous laughter and giggling. It’s not funny to an innocent person.
-Complains about the heat. (especially when answering unpleasant questions: stress makes the person hot).
-Overly detailed answers to the simplest questions. Or gives too brief answers.
-Inappropriate words/words not appropriate to the situation.
the suspect, the killer of his children. During the interrogation he said that the children had been kidnapped, and then spoke of them in the past tense: I loved my babies! (instead of saying: I love my babies!).
The suspect who shot his children and killed one of them when he was told his 8-year-old daughter survived exclaimed: “What a shame!”
The suspect was told that his ex-wife was murdered. He forgot to ask which one (he had two). He knew which one was murdered.
Listen for words that don’t fit the situation. When the assailant is called a lord. Or when they say I would take revenge amidst the refusal to confess. Listen for contradictions. People in stressful situations have a hard time remembering their own lies. After they have elaborated, ask them to repeat the facts again, this time in reverse order. Repeating a lie is very difficult.
What you know and what they don’t know
The criminal does not know what you already know. This is where you can mention the fact that forensic experts have found evidence and you need to take fingerprints, footprints, photograph shoes, take hair samples, etc. from the suspect. (but don’t go into details. If you say that forensics found fingerprints and the perpetrator knows he worked with gloves on, he’ll know you’re bluffing. Talk about forensics vaguely).
The fact that a hidden video camera has been installed in the store/office of the firm/office may be mentioned.
If there is more than one defendant, tell one of them that the others are already giving evidence to other investigators. Almost always after such a statement, someone will start talking. Explain the benefits to the first person to speak.
Facial expressions and gestures
Body language is much better at figuring out where the truth is and where the lie is than a verbal response. (When you ask a child if he has done something wrong, he puts his head down, sticks out his lower lip, and says: No. Which do you believe more, his answer or his facial expression?) It’s a universal rule.
What to watch out for when working with a guilty party.
-While talking, he keeps looking back at the door (he feels terrible about leaving).
-The suspect sits away from you, crossing his arms and looking defiantly in front of him.
-Extremely nervous. He tries to hide it, but he taps his foot incessantly.
-In answering a difficult question, the suspect rubs his ears or nose. The blood vessels in this area are very thin, and when they get hot, they begin to itch, so the person involuntarily begins to rub them. Suspects also wipe their sweaty hands on their pants with excitement.
-The suspect is constantly putting on a gloss: running his hand through his hair, picking up dust particles from the table, from himself, from objects. Thus he tries to divert attention from his answer to the question.
-Yawning: the suspect starts yawning to increase airflow as stress constricts the airway.
-Directs his/her gaze when asked difficult questions. (In case the suspect made eye contact during the normalization phase of the behavior, but now averts his/her gaze in an attempt to hide his/her emotions.)
-He covers his mouth when answering questions. (He lies and tries to hide it from you.)
Qualifying questions (guilty and not guilty answer the main questions differently)
Why are you here today? A guilty person will say that he himself does not know and that he was called in vain. An innocent person will suggest that a crime has been committed and that he was called to provide an alibi or to assist the investigation.
Do you think it really happened? The perpetrator will say that he doesn’t know anything and that he doubts whether the thing you are asking him about actually happened. An innocent person will say that the event really happened.
Did you do this? The perpetrator will begin to stammer, answer a question with a question, deny uncertainly. The innocent will say no.
Did you tell anyone you were coming here today? A guilty person will say it’s nobody’s business. An innocent person will answer that he told his dad, mom, brother, other relatives, neighbors, etc. They’re wondering what he’s going to say to the investigator.
Who do you think is beyond suspicion in connection with this case? The perpetrator will only name himself. An innocent person will name more than one: It’s unlikely any of my coworkers could have done it.
How do you feel about being called in to talk about it? A guilty person will say: I am always blamed for all my sins, and it’s because my boss is picking on me. The innocent one will say: It’s all right, it’s not a big deal, it’s interesting, I’ll be glad to help you.
Why do you think they did it? The guilty party will say: I don’t know. An innocent person will say the crook needed the money, will talk about what they did.
Why wouldn’t you? A guilty person will say: it’s not good, it’s easy to get caught, and the security system is too reliable. An innocent person will say: I wouldn’t want to lose my freedom, my reputation, my family, my love and respect, I can’t afford to lose my job and everything I have achieved.
Punishment? How should the person who did this be dealt with? (very important) The perpetrator will say that the offender should be given another chance, let him return the money, he should be treated. It’s not up to him to determine the punishment, it’s up to the court. He’ll add that he doesn’t have an opinion. Innocent: prosecute, fire him, put him in jail. He’ll talk about the guilty one as an outsider, in the third person. If the police catch him, then……
How do you think the investigation will end? The perpetrator will say: I don’t know, that’s your job. He’ll talk about how everyone suspects him, that he’s always being accused of something. He might say: I hope I’ll be cleared of suspicion. Innocent will say: It will become clear that it’s not me…., will talk with confidence about being cleared of suspicion.
Could your fingerprints have somehow ended up on…? I’m not saying you did it, but still, could they have been there? The perpetrator will say they could have been there before, or will ponder before answering (trying to remember if they touched anything). The innocent will quickly give a negative answer to the trap question: No, it can’t be.
Lie detector test question
If required in the interests of the investigation, would you agree to undergo a vocal stress test or polygraph examination? And if so, what results do you think it would yield? Accused: No, if I don’t have to do it, I won’t agree to it. I don’t believe in that sort of thing. Mentions some acquaintance who took such a test and was unfairly accused. (If he agrees, however, he’ll say the result won’t be in his favor because he’s too nervous). An innocent person will agree. Will say the result will be okay because he has nothing to hide.
The final part of the conversation
At this stage, the investigator should be confident enough to determine whether or not he/she is the offender. If you believe, based on your experience, the content of the answers received, facial expressions, gestures, data from the guilt/ innocence table, etc., that this is the offender, then proceed to the formal interrogation.
DURING THE INTERROGATION ONLY YOU SHOULD SPEAK, THE ONLY THING YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM THE SUSPECT IS A CONFESSION TO THE CRIME
At this point, take a short break. Leave the room for a few minutes. If possible, observe the suspect, leaving him or her alone; check for physical signs that he or she has let go. There are times when suspects sigh loudly, as if they are glad it is over. Observe to see if he does anything unusual, crying, dropping his head, talking to himself, etc.
Go back to the room and make an accusatory statement. Ivanov, the results of the investigation indicate that you did it.
Watch the reaction. An innocent person will immediately say that you were wrong. The guilty one will lean back, collapse from his chair, shake his head, lower his head, etc. And if he does deny it, it won’t be categorical denial.
Ivanov, it is quite obvious that it was you who did this. Now I want to find out why you did it.
This is where the investigator must present reasonable, understandable and plausible reasons for the crime. You have to convince the perpetrator that telling the truth is in his best interest. You need to get a confession.
Removing the protective barrier
Why people don’t want to confess:
fear of prison;
fear of retaliation by accomplices;
At this stage of the interrogation, you speak mainly. Don’t ask the defendant why he committed the crime, you tell him yourself. Moreover, you add, it is quite clear why he did it. It’s hard for a criminal to confess. So you must encourage him to do so. You only need to hear him if he wants to confess to the crime.
Between Two Evils: It is easier to end it now and show justice that you are truly remorseful than to feel the brunt of it. Those who confess and repent are treated much better than hardened criminals with no remorse.
To mitigate and downplay rather than aggravate. At this point in the interrogation, the suspect needs to be made to understand that what he or she has done is not so terrible. It happens. Most people have done the same thing, and if they didn’t do it, they wanted to do it, that’s for sure.
You can pay the firm back, right?
I will not tell the other co-conspirators what you told me.
They don’t put the honest ones in prison anymore. Prisons are overcrowded, there’s only room for real criminals, not those like you who made a mistake.
I guess I can keep this off the record. I won’t report it to your supervisor/neighbor/friends.
Action verbs: These are minimization tactics. Instead of killed or strangled say when it happened. Instead of shot or tried to kill say when the victim was injured. Instead of stole money say when you got the money. Action verbs scare suspects, if you belittle the seriousness of what you did, it will be easier for them to talk about it.
Inherent: Tell the suspect that this is not typical of him. This act is not typical of him. He just had a moment of weakness that he’s already regretted. He made a bad judgment call, it happens to everyone. He’s had so much stress in his life, it’s completely understandable why it happened. Just succumbed to temptation, like any man. The whole Bible is about that. Give examples of people who have stumbled, consciously paid the price and moved on with their lives.
Topics: Never ask a suspect why he did it. You tell him yourself. And it’s not that the suspect is a scoundrel, it’s that by talking, you can bring up a variety of options. At this stage you offer him reasons for committing the crime. In doing so, keep an eye on his reaction. When you guess the topic he is ready to accept, you will see that he will listen more attentively, change his posture, lean forward, raise his head to hear better. You know it’s all nonsense, he knows it’s nonsense too, but thinks it makes his act more understandable and therefore not too bad.
Examples of topics: (great technique – blame the victim for everything)
Theft: Sometimes people find themselves in such dire financial straits that they can only feed their family by borrowing money from work. I’m sure you were going to pay it all back at the first opportunity. Accusation: The boss shouldn’t have left all the money there. He earns so much himself and pays you pennies!
Sexual harassment or perversion: It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between love and sex. All humans are sexual by nature. I’m guessing you’re just confused and succumbing to the effects of hormones. Accusation: She’s running around in her underwear, hanging all over you, what do you want!
Killing: Sometimes things go wrong, you get angry, and then suddenly you flare up, not even intending to hurt anyone. You were just trying to scare him and the gun went off. If he’d just given you the money, the trouble wouldn’t have happened. If she had stopped resisting, nothing would have happened.
Mental illness and/or drug (alcohol) abuse; Criminals love it when their crimes are attributed to mental illness. They’ve heard on TV that deranged people don’t usually go to jail. Plus, if you attribute their crimes to drugs and alcohol, they will say.
Alternative questions (like either/or): (techniques to help maintain dignity, undesirable and desirable actions, any of these options is an admission of guilt.)
At this point, you tell the suspect that you know he did it, but you believe it was done for an understandable reason. That is, by making the crime understandable, you diminish its gravity.
Did the gun go off accidentally when the victim ran, or did you shoot him like a dog?
Did you pick up a gun to shoot him or just to scare him?
Did you hit him with a stick in self-defense or because he pissed you off?
Did you want to strangle her, or was it a form of rough sex?
Did you plan ahead to rob the firm, or was it an impulse?
Did you want to hurt her, or did it just happen because you were drunk/drugged?
Did you force her to have sex, or did she want it too?
When a suspect confesses to a crime, even if only partially, tell him or her that you understand everything. Then start asking more specific questions and get the details. Now he knows that he has already admitted some guilt, and when he sees that you have shown understanding, he will be more frank.
Capitulation(how to know if you found the right topic)
As the investigator, you should watch the suspect as he or she chooses the option or options. Watch for signs of willingness to surrender. By surrender you mean that it becomes apparent to you that he accepts what you have said and is willing to confess to the crime.
The suspect changes his posture from defensive or belligerent to less tense.
The suspect listens more carefully and physically responds to what you say.
Straightens up in your chair, moves closer to you.
The suspect collapses in his chair and drops his head.
Looking like a battered puppy, ashamed, while previously having a defiant look.
Tears are shown in the suspect’s eyes. (Innocent people don’t cry, they leave long before they do). When the suspect begins to cry, stay out of the way for a few seconds, then calm him down and tell him that everything will be okay. Again give an alternative explanation: I know you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, it all came out by accident.
Now that the suspect has pleaded guilty, you need to clarify the situation. If he previously claimed not to know anything about the crime, he is now starting to talk. Ask him when it happened, how he got there, what the victim said, what he did. Where’s the weapon? Where are the clothes you were wearing at the time? Where are the things? etc. If he answers you reluctantly, remind him that he has already told part of the truth and that it is better to dot all the I’s.
Now point out to him the inconsistency in his presentation, tell him you understand why he didn’t tell the truth before, but now that he’s doing things the right way, he’s allowed to be as frank as possible.
You said earlier that when the old lady was shot, she had a knife in her hand. We know it was actually a TV remote control. I want to ask: was she shot because you didn’t want a witness who could put you in jail, or did you just want to know what it was like to shoot a man? He’ll probably say he wanted the witness out. Because he doesn’t want you to think he’s a monster.
Having obtained a confession, go through the whole crime in detail from beginning to end. Then do it again, asking the suspect to confirm what you are unsure of. This will prevent his lawyer from claiming the confession was made out of confusion. Remain correct and courteous to the suspect, even after receiving the confession.
Having obtained enough information to confirm the suspect’s guilt in the case, raise the question of other crimes he may have committed. He will be inclined to talk, and this is usually the way to find out about other crimes he has committed.
As mentioned before, it is best to record statements on videotape. But if that is not possible, record a confession. When writing the confession, make a couple of mistakes, mark them and correct them. Then ask the suspect to read the statement, signing the corrections. This will prevent the suspect from claiming in court that he or she simply swiped the paper without reading it.
A good confession legally obtained is a trump card in court.
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