Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 3 Issue 2 (June 1993), Pages fmi-fmi, 87-172

From interrogation to investigative interviewing; strategic trends in police questioning (pages 89-99)


The Court of Appeal has recently released a number of people who were convicted of serious charges because it could no longer rely on confessions obtained during Police questioning. A detailed questionnaire study in 1987 of 80 detectives at four busy inner‐London Police Stations indicated that there had been improvements in the way Police question suspects. This is a result of the combined effects of new legislation, technology, and organizational policies designed to encourage an ethical approach to investigation. The majority of detectives have moved away from questioning purely to obtain a confession, towards questioning that is more of an inquiry—examining and adding to the existing evidence. However, a small number of detectives still indicated a preference for a dominant, confrontational style of interviewing, which stands in marked contrast to the majority emphasis on co‐operative interviewing styles. It appeared from this study that the legislation would succeed in making the questioning of suspects less inherently coercive. Subsequent empirical studies have shown this trend to be continuing. The concept of ‘investigative interviewing’ as an alternative to interrogation has been developed with the assistance of psychologists and is being promoted through a national training programme intended to restore confidence in evidence obtained through Police questioning.

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