By: Oliver G. Salta

Some criminals confess in order to be acknowledged and appreciated as having been clever enough to pull off a particular deceit. There are two ways to lie - Conceal and Falsify. There are two parallel ways to confess, To reveal and to self aggrandize, how do we tell them apart? This article will give you some tips.

“Most people who confess are unwilling to reveal all they have done, for confession is concomitant with expectations of punishment” this is according to Roger W. Shuy. Admittance of guilt, is usually one of the hardest thing to do, say for example, the television set was broken, to obtain a confession with who did what is not easy for the person who might be responsible for the act done, because the person who confesses knows for a fact that there is a corresponding punitive action.

Crimes are by nature covert, therefore it is but necessary to reveal them in pursuit of justice, but how can a police officer tasked with interrogation successfully gain a confession from the perpetrator himself? How can the interrogator know when to probe even further and resort to demanding answers and how can the interrogator know when a person lies? Techniques on Police Interrogations may be read in the book authored by Roger W. Shuy, The Language of Confession, Interrogation and Deception.

Part of this book covers about the techniques in securing information and these are, interview and interrogation. There is a line that draws this two techniques apart; Interview is defined by O’Hara and O’Hara as conducted with persons believed to possess knowledge that is of official interest to the investigator; Interrogation on the other hand is a formal and official examination of a person by the use of questioning and persuasion for the purpose of inducing him to reveal intentionally any concealed information, usually self incriminatory in nature. Difference between Interview and Interrogation Interview Interrogation Probes Cross Examines Suggests Challenges Uncovers Demands Guides Traps and Dominates It should be noted though Interrogation is not simply a means of inducing an admission of guilt but rather its real objective is the exploration and resolution of issues and not necessarily the gaining of a written or oral confession. It is also imperative that an interview be conducted prior to interrogation. In interview the steps in the intelligence process should be followed in order to come up with an informed judgment. The intelligence process are:

1. Collecting data

2. Evaluating the collected data

3. Analyzing the evaluated data

4. Reporting and Disseminating the Findings After which an interrogation may be substantiated.

The following are some interrogation techniques commonly used by interrogators: - Display sympathy and understanding, by patting the suspect’s back and even condemning the victim helps. - Good cop, bad cop routine - Playing one suspect against the other to build mutual distrust - Indicating the other suspects have already confessed even though they have not. - Asking questions suggestive of guilt - Intimidating the subject into thinking that the police already know facts. - The questions “Think very carefully before you answer the question” / “”are you sure about that?” provokes the truth from the guilty subject who fears the truth is already known. - Lie, flatter, adduce, ask questions roughly, play act, trick, cajole. - Ask only one question at a time - Allow the suspect to first his/her tell her story without interruption. - Ask clear questions Whereas police inspectors are allowed to accuse and lie, flatter and all that were mentioned above, the presentation of a suspect’s rights permits no such tactics.

The interrogation must be free of evidence of coercion or trickery. The Miranda act is highly critical of techniques that stress the need for the interrogator to present a false persona to the subject, pretend to sympathize with him or present fake or misleading interpretation of events. Even in the conventional good cop bad cop routine comes under criticisms in matters of presenting Miranda rights. Investigators should bear in mind that Interrogation is a descriptive process, not advocacy, it is fact finding and not a litigation, the investigator must not dictate, remember the goal of interrogation is, exploration and resolution of issues.

Reference: The Language of Confession, Interrogation and Deception by Roger W. Shuy

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