The Interviewer – Are Those Being Interviewed Telling The Truth Or Are They Lying? Part VIII

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

The responsibility to pursue legitimate investigative law enforcement tools creates an opportunity for new, creative, innovative and implementation for the law enforcement officials.

In my previous articles, I discussed the innovation of the cognitive interviewing model in 1984 by R. Geiselman et al.  Since then Geiselman and associates have focused on four specific retrieval components during the interview of witnesses.  These components are as follows:

·         Mental reinstatement of context (MRC)
·         Report everything
·         Recall in a variety of temporal orders (CTO)
·         Change perspective (CP) techniques

In 1984, the MRC was one of the key components of the cognitive interviewing model.  In interviewing, the witness the law enforcement is interested in specifically the memory to be remembered (TBR).  The MRC technique basically is where the interviewer encourages the witness to mentally reinstate both the psychological and the physical environments that existed at the time of the TBR event in order that they might act as retrieval cues (triggers) for the event (Dando and Milne, 2008).

The report of everything instructs witnesses to not edit any details about the TBR event, even those details they believe to be insignificant or irrelevant.  Memory for an event is believed to be stored as a series of coded representations (Bower, 1967) whereby what is stored in memory is not an exact replica of the TBR event itself but a multiplicity of interconnected codes that preserve the experience (Dando and Milne, 2008).

The recall in a variety of temporal orders (CTO) was implemented into the cognitive interviewing model as an additional method of accessing memory codes that may have been previously irretrievable.  The CTO technique is based on the theoretical assumption that the retrieval of information from memory can be influenced by prior knowledge and the application of schemas and scripts (Schank & Abelson, 1977).

The CP component of the CI aims to access memory codes that may have been irretrievable using the three previous techniques (Bower, 1967).  The CP technique encourages witnesses to recall the TBR event from a variety of person perspectives.

In 2008, Coral Dando, Rachel Wilcock and Rebecca Milne researched just how inexperienced police officer’s perception were of their witness and victim interviewing practices, specifically when it came to using the cognitive interview model.  Their primary objectives of the study reported were twofold:

·         To investigate less experienced frontline police officers perceptions of their witness interviewing practices with specific reference to their use of the ten cognitive interview components taught during initial PEACE (a mnemonic for the stages of the interview: Planning and preparation, Engage and explain, Account, Closure and Evaluation) interview training.

·         To investigate this group of officers practical experiences of interviewing witnesses.  Total of police officers were 221 young, in-service, no-specialist police officers from five UK police forces.

The research concluded that the study provided a unique insight into the perceived interviewing practices of some of the least experienced and the least trained investigative interviewers who conduct the majority of frontline witness interviews.  These officers report feeling inadequately trained, under pressure and generally ill equipped to conduct a PEACE cognitive interview.

As I have discussed over the past week, the majority of law enforcement officials nationally and internationally do not have the proper training and education to perform the complex interviewing of child victims, witnesses and sexual offenders.

The research that has been performed to date on this subject (Daly, 2003) demonstrates that there is a need for the police agencies worldwide to receive adequate training when it comes to the interview process.

The problem lies within the law enforcement officials who make decisions about where their training and education budget is to be expended.  With these findings, the law enforcement community needs to evaluate their individual departments and ascertain if their law enforcement officials are receiving the necessary and sufficient training; so they can be competent and intelligent in the interviewing of witnesses.

Becoming a police officer requires the ability to talk to individuals who may have witnessed a crime being committed and then after talking to the witness, to properly document what the witness told them about the event.  If the law enforcement official cannot complete this process then it doesn’t matter what model they utilize as the information obtained will be conducted in such a manner that the value of the information will generally be useless.

Tomorrow, I will continue evaluating the cognitive interview model.  I will further ascertain if the model is the answer to the current problem of interviewing witnesses for the law enforcement officials nationally and internationally.

The ability to identify which witness is telling the truth and/or lying will be difficult at best.  If law enforcement officials do not understand how to apply the interview policies, processes, procedures and protocols the results will continue to be negative.

Forensic Child Sexual Abuse Investigations Part 1 

   By: Lawrence W. Daly                                                             
  Webinar Time- September 22, 2011 1:00 pm -2:00pm
   Registration Fee - $99.00

This is


Post a Comment

All comments and feedback appreciated!

Criminology & Justice Headline Animator


Law Books




Serial Killers



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...