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Police Interviewing in France, Belgium and the Netherlands: Something is Moving (From International Developments in Investigative Interviewing, P 66-91, 2009, Tom Williamson, Becky Milne, and Stephen P. Savage, eds. - See NCJ-228326)

NCJ Number
Sylvie Clement; Marc van de Plas; Paul van den Eshof; Nicole Nierop
Date Published
26 pages
This chapter presents an overview of existing provisions for suspect investigative interviewing in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands,
Although recent years have seen a heightened interest in police interviewing in these three countries, some differences can be distinguished in the evolution in each country. Although France and Belgium are still developing a methodological, well-structured training program, the Netherlands has already taken some organizational measures to enhance police interviewing. The first section of the chapter reviews training in interview techniques for the French gendarmerie. The French national gendarmerie has undergone various phases of training in hearings and interrogations. A historical review of this initiative focuses on factors that have spurred this development and the principles underlying the training courses. An overview of the police interview in Belgium focuses on the legal framework for applied interviewing techniques and actual interviewing practices based on research. Policy and training regarding investigative interviewing of suspects in Belgium are also discussed. Regarding the interrogation of suspects in the Netherlands, the chapter notes that miscarriages of justice based on false confessions and a poor quality of interrogation have attracted considerable attention, including a review of such cases by the country's highest court of justice. The chapter provides an overview of the interrogation methods used in the Netherland, followed by a discussion of two prominent cases of miscarriages of justice in which innocent persons were convicted based on the results of flawed and improper interrogation tactics. The standard interrogation strategy developed in the Netherlands is then outlined. And this is compared with controversial interrogation methods and prohibited methods. It is clear that in the future, more attention should be paid to psychological processes that may influence the freedom with which a suspect makes a statement in the course of an interview. 14 notes and 44 references