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