Discuss about the Investigations Principle for Private Investigative Agencies.
It can be mentioned that the performance of private investigative agencies, governmental agencies and the police is continuously scrutinized by the criminal justice system, public and the government for the purpose of identifying the need to improve the investigation standards across the world. Witnesses, victims and the suspects form the foundations of every level of investigation (Vanderhallen & Vervaeke 2014). It is worth mentioning that that interviewing such suspects, victims and witnesses is an integral part of an investigative procedure. The term investigative interviewing had been first introduced in the United Kingdom in the 1990s after the previously used tactics by the police to obtain relevant information, confessions were condemned. The process of investigative interviewing had been developed with the collaborative efforts of the police officers, psychologists and lawyers. Subsequent to the development of the technique of investigative interviewing, there has been shift from the process of interrogation, to obtain confession from the suspects by the police to a far more ethical approach of gathering relevant information and evidence with the introduction of the PACE interview model. Many other countries in the European Union have adopted this ethical approach of conducting investigative interviewing with the inception of the European Convention of Human Rights. It can be mentioned that other countries such as New Zealand, Canada and Australia have also adopted this investigative interviewing approach due to the criticism of interrogation techniques. In the USA there has also been a shift from the accusatorial approach of REID technique due to several false confessions and failed cases to a more scientific approach.
Interview can be described as one of the primary methods which is used by the police to obtain information based on which they conduct further investigation. The police generally interview suspects, victims and witnesses of a crime (Powell & Barnett 2015). The police may interview a witness form the purpose of gaining new information about a crime such as the description of the crime scene, offenders or any other account or event which are useful for background information. In case of a suspect interview, the police ascertain that an individual is already involved in the offense. The purpose of suspect interviews is to implicate others or to exonerate the suspect. It can be mentioned that an interview is not without risks. Some interview practices can lead investigators to obtain misleading, unreliable or poor information. In case an interview is not properly conducted, there is a chance of miscarriage of justice.
In recent times there has been a lot of debate about the methods of interrogation and investigation. Concerns have been raised about the use coercive techniques such as torture and other interrogative procedures which are robust, reliability on the information obtained during the process of the interview and the impact of the interrogation or interview on the individuals. Therefore, it can be inferred that now, is the right time to highlight the need of conducting police interviews which are in line with the ethical standards.
Early approaches to police interviews
Since the inception of time and crime, the agents and the regulating authorities of legislature have aimed and attempted to obtain information from the suspects about their involvement in their respective crime. Until very recently, the investigation techniques used by the police to obtain information involved some form of coercion such as threats, beatings and physical torture. As opined by Fisher& Geiselman (2017), the term third degree had been coined to describe the process of obtaining information about a crime from a suspect of the crime by the use of aggressive techniques which included bright lights, physical blows and cold water. The basic objective or purpose of the third degree was to elicit a confession from the suspect about his involvement in the crime for which he was being investigated. Such aggressive interrogative techniques contained accusations made by the interviewer. While conducting the interrogation the investigator already presumed that the suspect had committed the crime and it was only a matter of time before he confessed about his involvement in the crime.
However, in the subsequent years the need to conduct more research about the workings and the capacity of the human memory and the behavior of the suspects during the course of the interview had been felt (Matsumoto et al., 2015). These researches brought to light some new approaches to investigative interviewing with remarkable improvements over the use of physical violence and coercion to extract confessions from the suspects. However, not all of the new approaches were successful. Some of the important techniques for conducting interviews without the use of physical torture or violence that had been devised from the findings of the researches conducted included the following:
Question and Answer
It was after the findings of the work of Hassler in the 1930s the interview method of question and answer arose. In this method the interviewer prepares a set of questions. The interviewer then asks the questions to the suspects about the topics of interests to the interviewer. It can be stated that in this approach the interviewer does not aim to build a rapport with the interviewee. As opined by Leins, Zimmerman & Zabecki (2017), it can be stated that this approach of conducting interrogations and investigations rests upon the notion that the police while conducting the interrogation must be in complete control of the interview or interrogation. Thus, it can be inferred that there is a strong limitation to this approach as it does not provide the opportunity to suspects to present any information which has not been asked for by the interviewer. Further, it can be stated that the topics questioned by the police can imply that other statements and information which are given by the suspects will have little relevance and importance.
Persuasive interview techniques
The technique of persuasive interviewing had been devised following the research conducted in the field of behavioral science in the 1960s (Powell, Hughes-Scholes & Sharman, 2014). It can be mentioned that the aim of the interview technique is convince and persuade a suspect to give personally incriminating statements. This method of interviewing had been particularly developed and used in the North America. The aim of this process is to increase the confidence of the suspect by making him believe that he is in a supportive environment. In the second stage the interviewer tries to assure that the suspect that he would be in a beneficial position if he cooperates with the interviewer and provides a confession to the interviewer. Later in the interviewer provides two positions to the interviewee both of which are incriminating making him believe that these are the only options available.
It can be inferred that coercive interview techniques are rejected by most of the countries as such interview techniques do not produce the desired results and are inherently unethical as they grossly violate the human rights of the interviewee (Yii, Powell, & Guadagno, 2014). As discussed earlier the P.A.C.E interview model has been developed in compliance with the ethical standards of conducting investigative interviewing and such model has been effective in producing the desired results. It can be stated that there are two methods which are widely used by the PACE interview model to obtain confessions or information from interviewee. The PEACE model consists of the following stages:
P.E.A.C.E Interview model
P- Preparation and Planning- This can be considered to be the initial stage of the interview in which the interview. At this stage the interviewer prepares the set of questions to be asked to the interviewee. At this stage the interviewer prepares an interview plan, links the materials that are available for the interview and identifies the specific areas which require the investigation. The important and essential elements of an interview are enumerated below:
- Understanding the purpose of the interview
- Defining the purpose, aims and objectives of the interview
- Assessing the materials that would be required for the interview
- Preparing the module of the interview.
E- Engage and Explain- It is worth mentioning that these two terms are referred to as the interview. Preamble only refers to the initial phases of the interview. The first element which is engagement can be defined as the introduction to the circumstances of the interview. It can be stated that it is desirable to form a proper relationship between the interviewer and the interviewee. For the purpose of establishing and developing that relationship, it is important for the interviewer to have an awareness of the expectations and the welfare needs of the interviewee. It is also important for the interviewer to explain to the interviewee the purpose why the interview is being conducted. This stage can be considered to be the foundation of the interview and can affect the results obtained from the interview.
- Account- In this stage the interviewee recalls and recollects the events that happened which led to conducting the interview. This stage can be considered to be the most important stage of the investigative interview process as it aims to obtain the fullest possible account of the events from the interviewee. This stage involves different models which can be used to obtain the account of the events from the interviewee. The ‘free recall’ and ‘cognitive’ model are mostly used for conducting compliant interviews. The ‘conversation management’ model is generally used with non compliance and passive interviews. It is worth mentioning that different techniques, associated with each of the aforementioned models can be used for assisting the recollection of the account of the events by the interviewee. In case of the cognitive and the free recall method the interviewee is encouraged to think back and relive the moment in the past with as less of interference of the investigator as possible. However, in case of the conversation management model, the interviewee is first asked by the interviewer to narrate the events that had happened. The account obtained from the interviewee is then subdivided into a number of individual parts. The parts are further enquired by the interviewer to get additional details. The cognitive model lets the interviewee take greater control over the way the interview develops. However, in case of conversation management the interviewer has greater control over the way the interview develops.
C: Closure- In this stage the interviewer faces the challenge to end the interview while trying to avoid future or immediate problems that might affect the relationship developed between the interviewer and the interviewee over the course of the interview (Tunley, Whittaker & Button 2015). Further, it can be stated that the interviewer must ensue at the end of the interview that he makes the interviewee informed about what is going to happen after the interview is over. He must also ensure to give an opportunity to the interviewee the chance to ask any questions to the interviewer and must thank the interviewee to cooperate with him throughout the interview.
E- Evaluate. This stage can be considered to be the last stage of the PEACE interview model. In this stage the interviewer assesses the materials and the information obtained from the interviewee. In this stage the interviewer first considers whether the objectives of the interview have been achieved. Secondly the interviewer must consider and decide whether it is required to conduct further enquiries and investigations (Bull, 2016). The interviewer must consult with the relevant supervisor or the senior about the findings of the interview and must take his confirmation if he is to arrange for a further enquiry or investigation. It is worth mentioning that evaluation of the findings of the interview can be helpful to the interviewer to assess and improve his interviewing skills. In the end the interviewers are required to reflect on their personal performance and identify the areas which require further improvement. It can be stated that an interviewer is required to possess the core skills of for the purpose of conducting the interview. Such core skills include:
- Planning and preparation skills- An interviewer is required to assess what is needed for gaining the desired account from the interviewee
- Building a Rapport- The interviewer or investigator must aim to build a rapport with the interviewee during the course of the interview for the purpose gaining the best account from the interviewee.
- Questioning skills: The interviewer needs to possess good questioning skills. He must what types of questions are to be asked to the interview for the purpose of obtaining quality and quantity information.
- Listening skills: An interviewer or investigator must be attentive to whatever the interviewee is telling him during the course of the interview and must take notes of the important details of the account of the employee.
Thus, to conclude It is worth mentioning that that interviewing such suspects, victims and witnesses is an integral part of an investigative procedure. The term investigative interviewing had been first introduced in the United Kingdom in the 1990s after the previously used tactics by the police to obtain relevant information, confessions were condemned. The process of investigative interviewing had been developed with the collaborative efforts of the police officers, psychologists and lawyers. In recent times there has been a lot of debate about the methods of interrogation and investigation. Concerns have been raised about the use coercive techniques such as torture and other interrogative procedures which are robust, reliability on the information obtained during the process of the interview and the impact of the interrogation or interview on the individuals. Therefore, it can be inferred that now, is the right time to highlight the need of conducting police interviews which are in line with the ethical standards. It can be stated that some of the interview techniques which do not involve violence and physical torture are Question and Answer, Persuasive interview techniques and the P.E.A.C.E model of investigative interviewing.
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