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Professor Ray Bull. 2. The ‘old’ way In January 1998 in the High Court in London a man was awarded £200,000 compensation relating to his arrest and police.

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Presentation on theme: "Professor Ray Bull. 2. The ‘old’ way In January 1998 in the High Court in London a man was awarded £200,000 compensation relating to his arrest and police."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professor Ray Bull

2 2. The ‘old’ way In January 1998 in the High Court in London a man was awarded £200,000 compensation relating to his arrest and police interviews conducted in 1987, and his subsequent years in prison. The Daily Telegraph, a popular national newspaper reported (on Jan. 20, 1998, p.9) that “An innocent man.... spent ‘five hellish years’ in jail after being beaten by a detective and forced to sign a confession...........The court heard how (he).....was butted and punched by a detective and threatened with injection by a syringe.”.

3 3. Reasons for coercion One of the major assumptions underlying justification for the use of coercive interrogation techniques is the pervasive belief that “…suspects almost never confess spontaneously but virtually always in response to police pressure” (Leo, 2008, p. 162) and that“…suspects almost never confess spontaneously but virtually always in response to police pressure” (Leo, 2008, p. 162) and that “Confessions, especially to serious crimes, are rarely made spontaneously. Rather they are actively elicited…typically after sustained psychological pressure.” (Leo, 2008, p. 119).“Confessions, especially to serious crimes, are rarely made spontaneously. Rather they are actively elicited…typically after sustained psychological pressure.” (Leo, 2008, p. 119).

4 4. Signs of change In 1993 Williamson (a senior police officer, who subsequently was in charge of the ‘murder squad’ in London) stated that “Unethical behaviour by interrogators has undermined public confidence and left the police service with a serious skills deficit in its ability to obtain evidence through questioning” and that “Currently, and in particular after any removal of the right to silence, the judges will apply strict criteria before admitting evidence obtained through questioning” (p.107). Williamson pointed out that “it does not take much skill to beat a confession out of a suspect detained in police custody”.

5 5. In other countries In many countries the traditional way that investigators have interrogated those whom they suspect of having been involved in wrong-doing has involved an accusatory, pressurising/oppressive approach. For example, in India a survey found that some police officers said that they do use a variety of intimidation techniques (Alison, Sarangi, & Wright, 2008)in India a survey found that some police officers said that they do use a variety of intimidation techniques (Alison, Sarangi, & Wright, 2008) the ‘Reid approach’ which is used in the USA (and is exported to other countries)the ‘Reid approach’ which is used in the USA (and is exported to other countries) in North America an analysis published in 2005 of eleven guidance books/manuals found that among the tactics most widely recommended were ‘minimisation’, ‘maximisation’, and the use/mention of false evidence.in North America an analysis published in 2005 of eleven guidance books/manuals found that among the tactics most widely recommended were ‘minimisation’, ‘maximisation’, and the use/mention of false evidence.

6 6. Suspects’ views The belief that perpetrators will deny being involved in serious wrong-doing has not benefitted from research on the views of offenders themselves. However, research involving offenders has in recent years started to be conducted and it has found that only a minority say that they entered the police interview/interrogation with their mind set on denial (e.g. 2006). However, research involving offenders has in recent years started to be conducted and it has found that only a minority say that they entered the police interview/interrogation with their mind set on denial (e.g. Deslauriers-Varin & St-Yves,2009; 2006). For example, in Australia Kebbell, et al. (2006) (also see found that For example, in Australia Kebbell, et al. (2006) (also see Kebbell, et al., 2008) found that only a half of the convicted sex offenders with whom they held a research interview said that they had entered the police interview having already decided whether to deny or confess. In fact, less than 20% had planned to deny (and around 30% had planned to confess). the other 50% entered the police interview not yet having decided whether to deny or confess. In 2005 O’Connor and Carson (both highly experienced professional interviewers) found in the USA that the predominant reason the confessors (to child molestation) gave for why they confessed was the respect shown to them by the interviewers.

7 7. Reactance Kebbell and Hurren (2005) noted that some guilty suspects who (prior to and/or at the beginning of the interview) may be considering whether to confess may subsequently decide not to simply because of the way they are being interviewed. This ‘psychological reactance’ has also been mentioned by Gudjonsson (2003) and by Holmberg and Christianson (2002) among others, but the frequency with which it occurs in the interviewing of suspects is deserving of much greater research attention. Whether denial or admittance occurred was related by Holmberg and Christianson (2002) to the style of police interviewing (i.e. ‘dominant’ or ‘humane’) that people now in jail for serious offences reported in an extensive questionnaire. They found a relationship between the interviewees’ recalled reactions during interviews and their denial/admittance, in that those who reported being frightened, stressed, insulted were less likely to have admitted/confessed. These researchers concluded that a “dominant interviewing style is associated with suspects denying crime” (p.42). (See Hakkanen et al., 2009 for Finnish police officers’ views including that ‘humane’ tactics are more important/effective than ‘dominant’ tactics.)

8 8. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act In the mid 1980s in light of 1.various decisions by the (national) Court of Appeal to quash previous convictions based on confessions that were ‘unreliable’ (e.g. because of police behaviour) 2.media and public concern about police interviewing the Government in England and Wales brought in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act which mandated that from 1986 all interviews with suspects be recorded (e.g. on audio-tape) and that to be admissible confessions had to be voluntary and not the result of coercion/oppression.

9 9. Early research In 1992 the Home Office (part of the Government in England and Wales) published the pioneering earlier research by Baldwin that it had commissioned. Prior to this very little research had been published on what goes on in police interviews. Prior to this very little research had been published on what goes on in police interviews. Baldwin found that of the 600 audio or video recorded interviews conducted in the late 1980s that he analysed, “most were short and surprisingly amiable discussions in which it often seemed that officers were rather tentative in putting allegations to a suspect......Indeed in almost two-thirds of all cases.....no serious challenge was made by the interviewers to what the suspect was saying”. “most were short and surprisingly amiable discussions in which it often seemed that officers were rather tentative in putting allegations to a suspect......Indeed in almost two-thirds of all cases.....no serious challenge was made by the interviewers to what the suspect was saying”.

10 10. Baldwin (cont’d) “Even when the suspect denied the allegation, no challenge was made by the interviewers in almost 40 per cent of cases”. In fact “Over a third of all suspects admitted culpability from the outset”, perhaps because of the common UK police strategy (in the 1980s) of revealing to suspects at the beginning of the interview all of the evidence the police had against them. (If such evidence is strong, some people do confess.) Thus, the majority of interviews seemed relatively straight forward.

11 11 (of 35 or 41). Little ‘shift’ Rather surprisingly, in only 20 of the 600 interviews Baldwin examined did suspects “change their story in the course of an interview. In only nine of these cases was the change of heart attributable to the persuasive skills of the interviewer, and even here only three involved offences of any seriousness.......The great majority of suspects stick to their starting position - whether admission, denial, or somewhere in between - regardless of how the interview is conducted”.

12 12. Little change Pearse (a senior detective) and Gudjonsson (1996) also noted (in their study of interviews conducted in 1991) that rarely did suspects in their interviews change from denying to admitting the offence. They contended that “suspects enter a police interview having already decided whether to admit or deny the allegations against them” (p.73) and that police interview techniques have minimal effects on whether an admission occurs.

13 13. Use of evidence Moston, Stephenson, and Williamson (1992) found that in the majority of several hundred taped interviews (conducted in London before 1992) the police spent little time, if any, trying to obtain the suspects’ accounts of events. Instead they accused the suspects of the offence and asked for their response to such accusations. (See also McConville & Hodgson, 1993.) Moston et al. noted that typically suspects were straightaway accused of the crime and informed, early on, of the evidence against them. They found, not surprisingly, that when the evidence was strong confessions were more likely. When the police evidence was not strong the suspects soon became aware of this and, perhaps understandably, did not confess.

14 14. No confession/no skill Thus, studies of police interviewing of suspects in England in the first few years after 1986 (when audio-taping became mandatory) found that a manipulative form of interrogation had been replaced by a confrontational form in which suspects are directly accused at the beginning of the interview. If the suspect refused to confess (e.g. because the evidence was not strong) the interviewers seemed not to know what to do next.

15 15 (of 35 or 41). The ‘working group’ In 1990 the senior police officer Tom Williamson (who then had a Bachelor’s degree in psychology) convened a ‘working group’ to discuss and then compile a substantial document on aspects of psychology that could be relevant to the interrogation/interviewing of suspects. This working group included a small number of psychologists (including myself, Eric Shepherd, and Stephen Moston). Stephen had the important role of compiling the document.

16 16. A major change The studies that we have so far mentioned all concerned interviews conducted before a major change in police interviewer training occurred in England and Wales. Indeed such studies brought about the change. This change was the ‘PEACE’ training course (and its underlying philosophy + booklets – 127,000) which began in the mid 1992, that all police interviewers must attend and which contains much research-based psychology (see the documents produced by Williamson’s ‘working group’; for an overview see Milne and Bull, 1999).

17 17. The principles of the ‘PEACE’ approach The ‘PEACE’ approach is based on a number of basic principles (published in 1992) which were chosen by the police detectives (seconded to up date interview/interrogation training). These include (emphases added) 1.The purpose of investigative interviewing is to obtain accurate and reliable information from suspects, witnesses or victims in order to discover the truth about matters under investigation. 2.Interviews should be approached with an open mind. Information obtained from the person who is being interviewed should always be tested against what the investigator already knows or what can reasonably be established.

18 18. What is ‘PEACE’ Firstly, P = Planning and Preparation Secondly, E = Engage and Explain Thirdly, A = Account Fourthly, C = Closure Finally, E = Evaluation

19 19. Experienced detectives’ beliefs I was asked by the relevant Government ministry to identify any skills gaps in ‘specialist’ police interviews (e.g. of suspects in serious cases) conducted by PEACE trained, experienced investigators. We first asked many experienced detectives what they believed the most important skills were and from their responses plus the relevant professional and academic literature we compiled an extensive questionnaire.

20 20 (of 35 or41). Other detectives’ beliefs Then a much larger sample of police interviewers/detectives was asked to say how necessary each of the many skills listed in the questionnaire was.. The skills deemed most necessary included (in order of necessity) listening preparation questioning knowledge of subject flexibility open mindedness rapport compassion/empathy.

21 21. Interviews were assessed We then obtained recordings of specialist interviews with suspects. Each of four experts on investigative interviewing independently rated these for the 28 skills. Even in the more skilled interviews some skills were not that often present, these being appropriate use of pauses and silences avoidance of using closed questions flexibility empathy/compassion.

22 22. Use of tactics A later study of ours involved the examination of audiotape interviews with suspects, provided by random selection by a relatively large police force in England. (At the time of conducting these interviews the interviewers were not aware that they would a few years later be used in a research study.) Details about the interviewers (e.g. their rank, the exact nature of the training courses they had attended) were not available, but it is very likely that all of them had attended some form of ‘PEACE’ training course as this had been national policy for several years. Similarly, information was not available concerning the suspects (e.g. prior convictions).

23 23. % of the 80 interviews in which each tactic was used at least once (from Soukara’s 2005 PhD thesis) Tactics Disclosure of evidence 100% Open questions 100% Leading questions 72% Repetitive questioning 64% Emphasising contradictions 60% Positive confrontation 60% Challenge account 56% Gentle prods 32% Handling mood 28% Suggest scenario 24% Interruptions 16% Concern 16% Silence 12% Maximisation, 01% Situational futility, Minimisation and Intimidation never occurred.

24 24. Frequency of Tactic Usage Just Prior to Confessing in 40 interviews (from Soukara’s 2005 PhD thesis) Time period relative to confessing (a) = two time periods prior; (b) = immediately prior time period; (c) time period of confession Disclosure of evidence 31 40 39 Open questions 38 40 40 Repetitive questions 26 33 26 Leading questions 21 26 21 Handling mood 20 28 24 Contradictions 18 23 15 Positive confrontation 14 24 20 Interruptions 14 16 15 Silence 8 11 10 Challenge account 11 9 3 Suggest scenario 3 5 6 Gentle prods 3 7 5 Concern 2 2 2 Situational futility 0 1 1

25 25 (of 35 or41). Work in Sweden In 2007 in Sweden Granhag, Stromwall, and Hartwig emphasised that investigators often have available to them some potentially incriminating information regarding the suspect they are about to interview. (Indeed, we might add, that this is one of the main the reasons why people become suspects.) Granhag et al. stated that “most interviewing and interrogation manuals were (and still are) silent on this issue” (p. 25). In Norway (see Rachlew, 2002) and in The Netherlands (see van der Sleen, 2009) the police had developed some procedures for the using of such information. For England see Shepherd, 1986 ( summarised in Milne and Bull, 1999 ) for “…subsequent probing of…interviewee accounts” and “…identify…contradiction...”.) Granhag et al. correctly stated that little research has been conducted on how such information is, or could be, used during interviews.

26 26. In their first published study Hartwig, Granhag, Stromwall, and Krokvist (2006) used the following procedure 1.the interview had a free recall phase, before the questioning phase, during which suspects were encouraged to provide relevant information. (This phase is similar to the account phase of the British PEACE approach.) 2.when the free recall phase has finished, then a questioning phase commences in which the interviewer poses questions relating to the potentially incriminating information that the interviewer possesses but without yet revealing such information to the suspect. 3.only when the suspect has responded to all the questions are the contradictions/inconsistencies between his/her account and the three pieces of potentially incriminating information revealed (all at once) by the interviewer and the suspect asked to deal with these.

27 27. Hartwig, et al. (2006) found that the use of their technique by new police recruits produced from liars more information that was inconsistent with the potentially incriminating information than did the interviewing techniques used by the ‘untrained’ police trainees (“…who had not received any training in conducting interrogations”) at the end of the interviews, whereas those who received no training decided whether their interviewees were lying or truth-telling at an accuracy level close to chance (a finding similar to much lie detection research), the trained group achieved a truth/lie detection accuracy level of very considerably above chance. Since their pioneering 2006 publication Granhag, Hartwig and colleagues have published further studies.

28 28. The gradual revelation of information Our recent research (funded under a ‘Countering terrorism’ initiative) examined the effectiveness of a ‘Gradual’ procedure (part of our ‘GRIMACE’ approach – see below) in which in complex/terrorism cases the interviewer in a planned way gradually lets the suspect know the relevant information the interviewer has available. It involves (i) Gathering Reliable Information/’evidence’ before interviewing, (ii) Motivating a ‘free recall’ Account from the suspects, and then (iii) during the subsequent questioning Challenging Effectively (i. e. gradually/incrementally) the suspect (using the information to point out contradictions etc.) about what the suspect has so far said. One of the main reasons for our gradual revelation is that in complex cases the interviewer may well be aware of a considerable amount of possibly incriminating information and dealing with this one major ‘topic’ at a time is likely to reduce the cognitive load for the interviewer but incrementally increase for the guilty suspect the realisation that (i) their contradictions/lies are being revealed and (ii) the information/evidence incriminating them is strengthening. Indeed, since 1999 (see Milne and Bull) we have advised that interviewers do not ‘topic hop’ but when questioning (including challenging) ‘exhaust’ one topic before moving on to the next topic.

29 29. In each of our two very recent studies we used three interview types: (i) potentially incriminating evidence presented early (i.e. in the initial stages of the interview) before asking suspects for a free account (what is still done in several countries – e.g. see ‘CSI’ and ‘NCIS’). (ii) potentially incriminating evidence presented later near to the end of the interview procedure (as done by Hartwig et al., 2006). (iii) planned but gradual presentation of potentially incriminating information (Dando & Bull, 2011).

30 30 (of 35 or 41). ‘Builders’ or ‘terrorists’ Our participants took part in a very engaging (hour-long) task either as builders (who largely told the truth in their subsequent interviews) or as terrorists (who largely lied in the interviews). After their interview participants were asked to indicate: 1.how much cognitive effort their interview caused them, 2.their achieved level of deceptiveness, 3.their level of motivation.

31 31. Study one -post interview veracity judgments Ten police officers and ten non-police officers. Each viewed 30 entire interviews (ten from each of the three evidence disclosure conditions - five builders and five terrorists). For each interview they were asked to decide whether the interviewee was being deceptive.

32 32. Study one - detecting terrorists/liars Police 66% correct –early = 55% –later = 66% –gradual = 76% Lay persons 54% –early = 52% –later = 53% –gradual = 56%

33 33. Study one - detecting builders (truth tellers) Police –early = 56 % –later = 57 % –gradual = 72 % Lay people –early = 56 % –later = 66 % –gradual = 69 % Thus, in our first study when the police officers watched video- recorded interviews in which the revealing of information was gradual their average success rate was 74% (which is much higher than the chance rate of 50%).

34 34. Our second study used experienced police interviewers Suspects = 78 male; 102 female (average age = 27). The several police interviewers had an average of 25 years of interviewing experience. Each of them conducted 30 interviews (ten of each type of information disclosure – partly to see if detectives can actually change the way in which they disclose information). For each of the three types/timings of information disclosure, five of the suspects were ‘terrorists’ and five ‘builders’. (Of course, the interviewers were not told this).

35 35. Interviewers’ detection rates (study two) These very experienced interviewers achieved the following levels of performance regarding their interviews for ‘terrorists’ for ‘builders’ early = 53% early = 47% later = 64% later = 42% gradual = 73% gradual = 66% (The average detection levels achieved for our ‘gradual’ style of information revelation of 69.5% in this second study and 74% in our first study are among the highest ever found.) (Presentation can end here if necessary.)

36 36. Is there a relationship between PEACE skills and interview outcomes? Is there time for the following six slides?

37 37. Is there a relationship between PEACE skills and interview outcomes? Our very recent analysis of 142 tape- recorded interviews conducted by PEACE- trained investigators with people suspected of ‘benefit fraud’ found that whereas some PEACE skills were regularly present, other PEACE skills were often absent.

38 38 (of 41). Skills present/absent For example, with regard to the ‘account’ phase, of the 20 skills evaluated within this phase, that of ‘keeping suspect to relevant topics’ achieved the highest overall rating but this was only at the ‘acceptable’ level. The overall ratings for ‘active listening’ and ‘encourages suspect to give an account’ were just below the ‘acceptable’ level. The skills that were rarely demonstrated at a ‘skilled’ or ‘acceptable’ level included ‘uses of pauses and silences’ ‘summarising what the suspect has so far said’ ‘flexibility’.

39 39 (of 41). Interview outcomes For every interview for each phase (i.e. planning, engage, account, closure) and each skill within a phase we categorised that skill as being demonstrated either (a) at an ‘acceptable’ or above level (i.e. ‘skilled’ or ‘highly skilled’) or (b) at an unacceptable level (i.e. ‘not quite adequate’ or ‘needs training’). For these 142 interviews we examined whether interviewing in a way that is compatible with the PEACE approach bore any relationship to the actual outcomes of these interviews. Overall we found that better PEACE interviewing was associated with securing a greater number of comprehensive accounts, including confessions.

40 40 (of 41). Interview outcomes (cont’d) Those interviews that scored higher (overall) for ‘planning’ skills were associated with more (i) ‘comprehensive accounts’ or (b) ‘full confessions’ than were those interviews which scored lower for planning. For ‘engage and explain’ those interviews that scored lower (overall) were associated with more (a) ‘denied offence’ or (b) only ‘partial admission’ outcomes than were those interviews that scored higher.

41 41 (of 41). Outcomes and account phase skills For the ‘account’ phase, several significant associations between interview skills and interview outcomes were found, including for ‘encourages suspect to give an account’ ‘develops topics’ ‘uses appropriate questions’ ‘explores received information’ ‘open mindedness’ ‘active listening’ ‘cognitive interviewing’. Overall, 63% of those interviews rated as satisfactory or above for the account phase obtained a comprehensive account or a full confession whereas only 12% of those rated as ‘needs further training’ did so. (The next, last slide mentions other countries.)

42 42. A number of countries (e.g. New Zealand, Norway, parts or Australia, Brazil, and Canada) have decided to adopt an approach similar to ‘PEACE’, and other countries, such as Japan and China, are actively considering doing so.


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