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Investigative Interviewing in the UK (From International Developments in Investigative Interviewing, P 24-38, 2009, Tom Williamson, Becky Milne, and Stephen P. Savage, eds. - See NCJ-228326)

NCJ Number
Andrea Shawyer; Becky Milne; Ray Bull
Date Published
15 pages
This chapter discusses the evolution of investigative interviewing of both suspects and witnesses/victims in the United Kingdom.
The chapter begins with a brief history of pertinent cases of suspect interviews and relevant legislation. In the 1970s, the UK police were pressured to address increasing public concern about the tactics they were using during suspect interviews after incidents of corrupt police practices leading to false confessions had been publicized. At that time, interviews with suspects were not being electronically recorded. It was not until the enactment of the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act of 1984 that the taping of suspect interviews became a statutory requirement. Associated codes of practice provided guidance on the questioning of suspects in police custody; they emphasized the avoidance of oppressive tactics during interviews and the obtaining of information from suspects rather than gaining a confession per se. Despite PACE recommendations, however, a critical report in 1992 highlighted serious issues in police interviewing, including poor techniques and assumptions of guilt (Milne and Bull, 1999). Subsequently, principles and associated interviewing techniques were developed into a standardized framework for ethical interviewing known as PEACE. PEACE involves a 5-day training course that is outlined in two booklets issued to all police officers in England and Wales. Following the historical overview of suspect interviewing in the United Kingdom, this chapter discusses the interviewing of witnesses and victims. This discussion focuses on the cognitive interview, which was developed by using psychological theories of memory to extract as much accurate information as possible from the "willing" interviewee. Relevant legislation, particularly regarding the interviewing of child witnesses/victims, is reviewed. The chapter concludes with a review of recent developments in investigative interviewing. The focus is on interviewing training requirements and a training program to improve police performance in investigations generally. 1 table and 46 references