Eliciting information from sources and suspects

May, Lennart

Gathering information in human interactions is a critical aspect for police and intelligence interviewers. However, quite recently and rather slowly researchers have started to focus on using available information in order to collect case-related information in such interactions. This thesis advances this line of research by conducting three studies on how to use available information to elicit new information from sources and suspects. Two of the studies were about the Scharff-technique and one was about the Strategic Use of Evidence (SUE)-technique. Overall, the Scharff-technique (vs. the Direct Approach) and the SUE-technique (vs. the Early disclosure) resulted in more new information by influencing the sources’/suspects’ perceptions of the interviewer’s knowledge strategically. In line with the three studies, this thesis developed an interviewing framework consisting of a conceptual and tactical tier. The conceptual tier explains the cognitive and verbal processes of the sources/suspects in interviews and the mechanisms behind the Scharff and SUE tactics. The tactical tier includes the Scharff-technique and SUE-technique and shows ways in order to influence the sources’/suspects’ perceptions and verbal behaviours. Overall, the developed two-tier interviewing framework can help to train practitioners and initiate further research.

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May, Lennart: Eliciting information from sources and suspects.

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