Week 11 Blog – Interview techniques

April 20th 2013 | Steve Peckham

The start of the week carried on from where we left off last week – interviews.  After a day of learning about the codes of practice regarding detained persons and the role of the legal advisor we went straight into planning for our suspect interviews.  The ‘suspects’ we were interviewing had been arrested under suspicion of committing a variety of offences including assault, break and entry, abduction and possession of a firearm. 
We were joined by two colleagues from the Hi-Tech Crime Department and put into pairs to conduct the interviews over three days.  With the witness interviews we conducted last week, you have to plan to ensure you get as much detail as possible from the witness who could be upset, embarrassed or intimidated. 
With the suspect interviews, you need to obtain information from someone who could be obstructive or aggressive.  A suspect could answer all of your questions with ‘no comment’ which can be very frustrating. You also have to treat the suspect in a fair and impartial way, even if you have all the evidence you require to prove they committed the offence – you cannot just barge into the room and demand they ‘sign the confession!’ 
As with the interviews last week, the group watched each pair on a TV link and offered feedback at the end of each interview.  All of us had good points and things to improve but on the whole, it was a good effort all round. The staff who acted as the suspects did a great job as well, especially Sgt Smith who managed to make himself cry whilst being interviewed about his involvement in a break and entry.
On Friday we returned to the TA Centre for an enjoyable recap on officer safety including the use of handcuffs and batons.  It was good to do something physical after almost two weeks in the classroom.  We also had our first session of drill in the location we will actually be marching on our passing out parade next month.  We were all pleased, and Staff Hayden no doubt relieved, to see that we do not need to march very far!  
On Saturday we took part in our final weekend role play exercise at St Helier Parks and Gardens. We were clearly more confident from the start as we went around dealing with the various scenarios ranging from dealing with a drunk and incapable man to reporting a missing child. However, I think all of our hearts filled with dread as the teenagers from the previous role play exercise at Le Rocquier appeared with cans of lager in their hands for us to try and confiscate!  
We now only have four weeks of training left before we join our shifts, an exciting if not slightly daunting prospect.


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