An Overview of Conducting Interviews for Students at Police Foundations College

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Flick across a selection of television channels on any given night and it’s very likely you’ll come across a police drama. Scenes set in the interview room often throw up exciting action between the police officer and suspect, but the reality is often far removed from that scenario. Real police officers are usually far more restrained, balanced, and approachable during interviews.

Should you choose to go into law enforcement after police foundations training, interviews with suspects, witnesses or victims will be a regular feature of any normal day. Keep reading to find out what you can expect.

What Police Foundations College Students Should Know About Interviewing People at a Crime Scene

The crime scene often contains the most crucial evidence required to solve a case, and it’s also a key place to find out information from witnesses, victims, or possibly even suspects. These people are regularly in shock at this time, so officers recognize that a more reserved approach is preferred when trying to find out information. People need to be given enough time to answer questions, because their minds are still trying to process what has just happened.

Nonetheless, officers who arrive at a crime scene can do their best to discover information. Memories deteriorate over time, so the recollections of witnesses at the scene can be vital. Officers usually prefer to speak to interviewees at inconspicuous locations, out of view of the public, where they’ll be more likely to talk openly. The communication and crisis management skills developed in comprehensive police foundations college programs can often be important at this crucial stage of an investigation.

Witnesses at the scene are important sources of information
Witnesses at the scene are important sources of information

Conducting Formal Interviews with Suspects

Not all suspects are identified at the crime scene, and formal interviewing takes place at the police station itself. Officers enter this scenario with a broader picture of what has happened, and they are more likely to have specific questions prepared for their interviewees.

Preparation is important for formal interviews
Preparation is important for formal interviews

Throughout, it’s important to follow proper procedures, ensure that interviewees are aware of their rights, and approach the process in a fair and balanced way. Failing to adhere to proper protocol could lead to errors in the investigation, or even make the interview testimony inadmissible as evidence. Police foundations program students receive training about ethical behaviour during their course, as well as classes in criminal investigations and gathering testimony, preparing them to approach these kinds of high-stakes situations with the right mindset.

Effective Techniques for Interviewing Witnesses or Victims

Victims and witnesses are vital sources of information, but it’s not always easy to find out what you need to for an investigation. Memory deteriorates over time, but a variety of techniques are regularly used by officers to trigger a vivid recollection of what happened.

For instance, it may be useful to try to recreate the interviewee’s frame of mind at the time, by asking them to describe what they were doing and how they were feeling. They might also be asked to describe the scene from the perspective of the witness or victim to stimulate lost memories.

Become a pillar of the community after police foundations training.

Develop the necessary skills during our Diploma Program at Discovery Community College.