Reid Technique of Police Interrogation May Be on its Way Out

Reid Technique of Police InterrogationPolice interrogations involve direct questioning of subjects to elicit a confession in a criminal investigation. Experienced interview transcription providers deliver error-free verbatim documentation of police interrogations. Police interrogations transcription involves conversion of the audio and video recordings of the interview, which helps investigators and law officials make informed decisions based on what the suspect said. A recent report in the Washington Times has put the spotlight on these interrogations. According to the report, the widely used Reid technique of police interrogations may be on its way out.

The main aim of the police interrogation is to wear suspects down. The traditional method involves intimidating the subject physically with third degree measures. In the PEACE method – Preparation and Planning, Engage and Explain, Account, Closure and Evaluate – it is assumed that a liar will gradually build up a series of false explanations, and eventually, an inconsistent detail will reveal the whole fabrication. The Reid technique involves building of rapport with the suspect and observation of body language to elicit a confession.

The big question is: are interrogations successful? The confrontational Reid technique, developed by John E. Reid in the mid-1900s and used for more than half a century, is considered the gold standard by the law enforcement community for interviewing and interrogating suspects in criminal investigations. The procedure basically involves three stages and is aimed at breaking down the suspect’s defenses and making him confess.

First, the suspect is taken into custody and brought to the interrogation room. Then the interrogator tells the suspect he is guilty and that he (the interrogator) and the police know this. The interrogator overstates the strength of the evidence and the magnitude of the charges, slowly building up of pressure. In the final stage, the interrogator uses the minimization technique, saying he understands why the suspect committed the crime. He tells the subject that he will feel better by confessing. The suspect is made to feel that admitting to the crime may be the easiest way out.

However, experts have questioned the efficacy of the Reid technique and the confessions that are elicited. According to the recent Washington Times report, innocent people are more likely to be affected by this interrogation method than guilty people. The extended interrogations may drive innocent people to falsely confess because they naively believe that the facts will eventually set them free.

One of the largest police consulting firms in the U.S. has said that it will stop training detectives and federal agents in the Reid technique because “confrontation is not an effective way of getting truthful information”.

Even police officers who watched videos of their own interrogations later have conceded that they may have revealed details about the crime to the suspects, which only the culprits could have known about. This may have led suspects to confess to a crime they did not commit. The police consulting firm plans to use other interrogation styles that studies have found to be much less risky.

Regardless of the interrogation technique used, a verbatim transcript of the entire interrogation should be created. The transcript should include the incriminating statement as well as every word that transpired between interrogators and the suspect. Outsourcing the task to an experienced interview transcription provider can ensure cost-effective interrogations transcription in quick turnaround time.

About Julie Clements

Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.