Real Crime - - Reid Technique -

Reid teaches that there’s no such thing as a false con­fes­sion, sug­gest­ing that if its method is cor­rectly fol­lowed the chances of one oc­cur­ring are zero. If they do crop up it’s be­cause the in­ves­ti­ga­tors did not fol­low pro­ce­dure cor­rectly.

The tech­nique comes in two parts: fac­tual anal­y­sis and be­hav­iour anal­y­sis. Each el­e­ment func­tions in­di­vid­u­ally but feeds into elim­i­nat­ing false sus­pects and whit­tling down to those sus­pected of com­mit­ting crimes.

The fac­tual anal­y­sis in­ter­view is in­tended to breed con­fi­dence in method­ol­ogy, with in­ves­ti­ga­tors strate­gis­ing through ques­tion­ing. The be­havioural anal­y­sis part of the Reid tech­nique de­vel­ops two themes: non- ac­cusatory and ac­cusatory. Non- ac­cusatory con­sists of stan­dard in­ves­tiga­tive ques­tions, which help de­ter­mine truth­ful­ness, be­havioural in­for­ma­tion and cre­ates a di­a­logue. The ac­cusatory in­ter­view ups the ante in nine de­fined steps and is in fact a mono­logue, put­ting the ana­conda squeeze on a sus­pect – one de­signed to get a con­fes­sion of guilt. 1

Pos­i­tive Con­fronta­tion It be­gins when an in­ves­ti­ga­tor leaves the room mo­men­tar­ily and re­turns hold­ing a case file. The de­tec­tive looks at the sus­pect and tells them they know they are guilty of the crime. 2

Theme De­vel­op­ment The de­tec­tive con­structs a nar­ra­tive ( known as a theme), which presents mo­ral jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the crime: “Your wife was play­ing hide the salami with the neigh­bour, it was an af­front to you as a man.” 3

Han­dling De­nials A sus­pect – in­no­cent or guilty – will rarely sit there and take the ac­cu­sa­tion ly­ing down, so the de­tec­tive must de­velop the theme and shut down the sus­pect when they at­tempt to in­ter­rupt.

4 Over­com­ing Ob­jec­tions

The sus­pect at­tempts to as­sert con­trol over the in­ter­view by protest­ing and ob­ject­ing to the de­tec­tive’s theme. “I’d never kill my wife, I loved her. I don’t even own a gun.” Ob­jec­tions fall into sev­eral cat­e­gories: mo­ral, emo­tional and fac­tual.

5 Get­ting their At­ten­tion

From this point on­wards, de­tec­tives are deal­ing only with guilty sus­pects. They con­tinue to de­velop the theme and by now the with­drawn sus­pect starts to lis­ten. The de­tec­tive de­lib­er­ately in­vades the per­sonal space of the sus­pect. 6

Han­dling their Mood The de­tec­tive has the un­di­vided at­ten­tion of the sus­pect and con­tin­ues to de­velop the theme ( the man killed his wife and her lover be­cause she was hav­ing an af­fair). The sus­pect is sub­dued and re­signed to the truth com­ing out. 7

Al­ter­na­tive Ques­tions The de­tec­tive poses a ques­tion. “Did you plan on killing your wife and her lover, or was it a spur of the mo­ment ac­tion?” The al­ter­na­tive ques­tion is fol­lowed by a sup­port­ing state­ment, such as “It was in the heat of the mo­ment, right?” 8

De­tails, De­tails Af­ter the al­ter­na­tive ques­tion and sup­port­ing state­ment, the de­tec­tive fol­lows up with a state­ment of re­in­force­ment. The de­tec­tive will then take the sus­pect through a se­ries of ques­tions re­lated di­rectly to the crime. “Where did you get the gun?”; “How did you gain en­try to your neigh­bour’s house?” 9

Con­vert­ing the Con­fes­sion The de­tec­tive has gleaned a ver­bal ac­count of the mur­ders and gath­ered sup­port­ing ev­i­dence. A wit­ness should be brought into the room and de­tails gone over again. State­ments ap­pear in four for­mats: the sus­pect’s, the in­ves­ti­ga­tor’s state­ment, state­ment taken by stenog­ra­pher and recorded state­ment.

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