Friday, July 31, 2015

Reid Technique of taking confessions under increasing attack in the courts; Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) taking "new approach." Incisive National Post story: "Less Kojak and more Dr. Phil': How the law is forcing police interrogations to get kinder and gentler." (Must Read. HL);

STORY:"Less Kojak and more Dr. Phil': How the law is forcing police interrogations to get kinder and gentler," by reporter Douglas Quan, published by the National Post on July 29, 2015.

GIST: "Canada’s national police force is taking a gentler, less accusatory approach to suspect interrogations amid growing criticism that certain interview tactics used widely by law enforcement agencies can lead to false confessions. Under the RCMP’s new approach, quietly adopted in December, investigators are encouraged to keep an open mind, resist presuming guilt, and focus more on gathering information than on getting a confession, Sgt. Darren Carr, who led the development of the new interview model, told the National Post. “When I’m training people, I always say, ‘Less Kojak and more Dr. Phil,’” he said, comparing the gruff 1970s fictional TV detective to the more easygoing style of the popular TV host/psychologist. Like most North American police agencies, the RCMP’s traditional interviewing methods were heavily shaped by the Reid Technique. Pioneered in the U.S. in the 1950s, and named after Chicago polygraph expert John E. Reid, the technique consists of two parts. The first component is a non-accusatory interview that involves asking “behaviour-provoking” questions and assessing a suspect’s body language to determine if that person is lying. If investigators believe the suspect is lying, they move on to the interrogation, which is more accusatory. Investigators will tell the suspect that the investigation clearly establishes his or her role in the crime. They might offer a moral justification for the crime, telling a robbery suspect, “I think you acted out of desperation because of your financial situation.” Investigators might also present two choices for what happened — both incriminating. “Have you done this many times before or was this just the first time?” they might ask.
If the suspect continues to deny involvement, investigators are trained to swat away the denials and re-state their confidence in the suspect’s guilt. These tactics have come under increasing fire in academic papers and in court decisions for being overly coercive..........Joseph Buckley, president of John E. Reid and Associates, said in an email that the core of his company’s training is to “treat the subject with dignity and respect, and during the interrogation phase maintain a sympathetic and understanding approach.” Buckley said his company teaches police about false confessions and how to prevent them. He has previously said it is not the technique that causes false confessions but detectives who apply the technique improperly. But Tim Moore, a psychology professor at York University, maintains the Reid Technique is psychologically manipulative and its principles were “never based on research.” While he is encouraged police are moving away from use of the technique, it doesn’t mean detectives will stop using it, he said. “Thousands have been trained in it, and will probably continue to use it.”"

The entire story can be found at:

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