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Improving the legal aspects of police interviewing of suspects
journal contributionposted on 2011-11-01, 00:00 authored by J Read, Martine Powell
The purpose of this paper is to provide some guidance to police interviewers and trainers in relation to improving the legal aspects of police questioning of suspects. The paper is written with reference to Victorian legislation. Sixteen professionals (defence barristers, academics, prosecutors, and detectives), all with extensive knowledge of the law and experience evaluating police interviews with suspects, took part in individual indepth interviews (M ¼ 100 minutes). The aim of the interviews was to discuss the limitations of police interviews with suspects and to provide exemplars of concerns from a set of de-identified transcripts that had been provided to the professionals prior to their interviews with us. Overall, four key limitations were raised: (a) inadequate particularisation of offences, (b) inappropriate phrasing of questions, (c) poor introduction of allegations, and (d) questions that unfairly ask the suspect to comment on the victim’s perspective. These concerns and their practical implications are discussed.