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VIDEO TAPING POLICE INTERVIEWS WITH SUSPECTS: AN EVALUATION

NCJ Number
144618
Author(s)
J Baldwin
Editor(s)
G Laycock
Date Published
1992
Length
37 pages
Annotation
The videotaping of police interviews of suspects in Great Britain was evaluated using data from 400 video recordings of interviews from four police stations and 200 audio recordings from two other police stations.
Abstract
The 600 interviews were recorded between October 1989 and November 1990. The analysis focused on how the interviews were conducted, the nature of the allegations, the suspect's response and general attitude, the police officers' approach and style of interviewing, the role of attorneys and other third parties, the outcome of the interview, the suspects' use of the right to remain silent, and whether significant exchanges had occurred before the interview. The cases included offenses of all levels of seriousness and involved hundreds of interviewers. A majority of the cases involved theft, burglary, and violence. Findings revealed that some police officers experience great difficulty in conducting interviews, even in the simplest cases, and are often unaware of their lack of skill. Findings revealed the need for improved training efforts that go beyond improving training courses. A simple handbook could be distributed nationally, and interviewers need continued supervision on a local level. Findings also indicated that considerably more care and thought is needed if video recordings are to be relied upon to provide the needed safeguards for suspects and interviewers and reassurance for the courts. Tables and notes