IN­TER­VIEW 101

PO­LICE TECH­NIQUES RUN A WHOLE GAMUT, FROM DIRTY HARRY TAC­TICS TO JOUR­NAL­IS­TIC AP­PROACHES

Real Crime - - Fesing Up -

We’ve seen it on our screens a mil­lion times be­fore: some Dirty Harry type beat­ing up a sus­pect un­til they sing like a ca­nary. While it makes for a highly en­ter­tain­ing spec­ta­cle in cop shows and films, the clas­sic method known as the ‘ Third De­gree’ is deeply prob­lem­atic on nu­mer­ous lev­els. If you tor­ture some­body for long enough, they’ll con­fess to ab­so­lutely any­thing. The days of the ‘ sweat box’ – put­ting sus­pects in ex­tremely hot or cold rooms – are long gone. Good Cop, Bad Cop rou­tines – an­other favourite sta­ple from TV and cinema – is an­other tac­tic too old hat for to­day’s cli­mate ( though both tac­tics un­doubt­edly still oc­cur).

In the UK a more ‘ softly- softly’ ap­proach is favoured. Known as PEACE ( Prepa­ra­tion and Plan­ning, En­gage­ment and Ex­plain, Ac­count, Clo­sure and Eval­u­a­tion), this works by let­ting the sus­pect talk and talk, know­ing those who are guilty con­struct and weave a tale of lies, which even­tu­ally col­lapse like a house of cards upon re­peated ques­tion­ing. In 2009 Pres­i­dent Obama es­tab­lished HIG ( High- Value De­tainee In­ter­ro­ga­tion Group). Made up of ex­perts from the CIA, FBI and US De­fense, lessons learned from in­ter­ro­gat­ing ter­ror­ists are very slowly be­ing in­tro­duced to po­lice de­part­ments in the US, such as the once- no­to­ri­ously cor­rupt and bru­tal LAPD.

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