Interviews And Interrogations: The Classified Difference Between Interviews And Interrogations

Posted in Forensics and Investigations on May 26, 2023
Interviews And Interrogations

Interviews and interrogations. What is the difference between an interview and an interrogation? Interviews are typically conducted with victims and witnesses. Interrogations are conducted with suspects. The goal of an interrogation (assuming the suspect is actually guilty) is to establish the suspect’s guilt in a court presentable way.

Interviews And Interrogations

Interviews And Interrogations

That investigation is the act of investigating; the process of inquiring into or following up, research, study, inquiry, especially patient or thorough inquiry or examination; as, the investigations of the philosopher and the mathematician; the investigations of the judge, the moralist while interrogation is the act.

An Interview 

An interview is a non-accusatory question and answers session with a suspect, victim, or witness. The goal of an interview is to put together information and/or make an assessment of the subject’s credibility. Some of this information will be investigative. Other interview questions are particularly designed to elicit behavioral responses from a subject. The investigator must keep a non-accusatory tone and demeanor during an interview.

This is so that even when he knows that the subject has lied to an investigative question or exhibits clear indications of deception to a question designed to arouse behavioral responses. Under this circumstance, if the investigator becomes accusatory or challenging, the subject will become guarded and hesitant to give information. A subject will offer much more meaningful information if he does not feel threatened or pressured. In short, an investigator should allow subjects to lie during an interview. As long as the subject continues to answer the investigator’s question, information is being obtained. 

During an interview, the investigator should talk 20% of the time, and the interviewee should talk 80% of the time. To accomplish this balance, the investigator should keep his or her questions concise and, whenever possible, evoke a narrative response from the subject, known as close-ended questions. The majority of the time, investigators disclose so much information through their questions that the subject learns far more about the investigation as a result of the interview than the investigator learns about the suspect’s likely involvement in the crime.

An Interrogation

An interrogation is intended to extract the truth from someone whom the examiner suspects of being either guilty of fraud or has lied during an interview. Therefore, it represents an attempt to encourage the subject to disclose the truth. To persuade the subject to reveal the truth, logic and rational arguments based on direct proof available through records, papers, and information from the organization’s internal sources may be used. An innocent person may be interrogated in various cases. In this circumstance, the questioning techniques utilized must not be so persuasive as to elicit a false confession. Threatening the subject with unavoidable repercussions followed by a promise of leniency if the subject confesses is a particular scheme to avoid. 

The interrogation should not include accusatory questions, for this will likely only result in further denials from the subject. Rather, it should consist of a monologue during which the fraud examiner makes statements designed to convince the subject to tell the truth. The monologue should address the circumstances which led up to the subject’s commission of the fraud. 

The fraud examiner’s manner during questioning should reflect the subject’s aloof conduct. It is much easier for a subject to tell the truth to someone who appears to understand why he or she committed the fraud from a psychological standpoint. The fraud examiner should never tell the subject how serious his or her conduct is or what punishment he or she could face. Such reminders strengthen the subject’s attempt to escape repercussions through continued denials.

If the fraud examiner’s persuasive statements affect the subject, the guilty subject often exhibits signs which indicate that he is considering telling the truth. At this point, the fraud examiner asks a question that offers the subject two choices relating to some aspect of the crime. If the subject now accepts that the fraud has happened on the spur of the moment or because his immediate senior forced him to do so, this represents his initial admission of guilt.

If the fraud examiner makes no evident distinction between interviewing and interrogation, less information will be learned when questions are asked during the interaction that resembles “interviewing,” and the persuasive impact of the “interrogation” stage will be minimized. Of the greatest concern, however, is that the guilty suspect may never truly be persuaded to reach a stage where he is willing to openly talk about his crime (the first admission of guilt). Under this circumstance, often active persuasion is used to take out details of the confession piece by piece. The voluntariness of that confession, and even its trustworthiness, may later be challenged in court.

Final Thoughts

Although both interviews and interrogations seek information, the interview is a more informal procedure, whereas the interrogation involves formally questioning a person who has information about a suspected crime. Arson investigators must conduct interviews in order to accurately recreate the fire under investigation. An effective interviewer must be an extrovert as well as an actor, as well as calm, understanding, impartial, and quick-thinking. Experience is also an important requirement. The investigator must plan the interviews at the time of the fire or incident, deciding who should be questioned, where, and what questions to ask.

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