The research project on disclosing evidence in suspect interviews is a substantive attempt to bring research into practice. This effort builds on more than 15 years of research and a collaboration with US local law enforcement. The project is financed by the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Law enforcement officers are rarely trained in how to ethically and effectively use evidence and facts during interviews. This is alarming considering that a suspect’s decision to reveal investigative information is often influenced by the evidence against him or her. The proposed project aims to remedy this by developing and testing a training manual that is based on researched techniques for disclosing evidence in investigative interviews.
In year 1 we will bring together the body of studies on evidence disclosure methods and synthesize this knowledge into a conceptual model of strategic disclosure in investigative interviews. This conceptual model will be translated into an evidence-based training manual that will be validated in a training study. In this study the law enforcement officers will interview mock suspects before being trained in the research-based methods and after having been trained in research-based methods. We will examine the officers’ adherence to the training, the investigative information gathered, and the quality of the relationship with the suspect.
In year 2 we will develop an instructor’s guidebook that will be validated in a ‘train-the-trainer’ study. In this study police instructors will extend the research-based training by independently training their own law enforcement officers. These officers will provide a real suspect interview before they receive the extended research-based training and after they have received the extended research-based training. We will again examine the officers’ adherence to the training, the investigative information gathered, and the quality of the relationship with the suspect.