Topic management in Police-suspect interviewing

Heydon, G 2018, 'Topic management in Police-suspect interviewing' in Jacqueline Visconti (ed.) Handbook of Communication in the Legal Sphere, Walter De Gruyter, Boston, United States, pp. 201-218.


Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: Book Chapters

Title Topic management in Police-suspect interviewing
Author(s) Heydon, G
Year 2018
Title of book Handbook of Communication in the Legal Sphere
Publisher Walter De Gruyter
Place of publication Boston, United States
Editor(s) Jacqueline Visconti
Start page 201
End page 218
Subjects Discourse and Pragmatics
Police Administration, Procedures and Practice
Summary This chapter examines the interactional priorities of police interviews with suspects and discusses the utilization of linguistic theory to enhance the interview model. To borrow from Austin (1962), this chapter will consider how police and suspects 'do things with words' and demonstrate the value of linguistic perspectives on the development of ethical, non-coercive models of investigative interviewing. Prior research (Clarke and Milne, 2001) has demonstrated that interviewing is a skill that officers must acquire through evidence-based training programs, practice in the field, and ongoing review and evaluation. In particular, the development and management of topics in a police interview is a complex task that requires specific training and skill to accomplish successfully (Griffiths & Milne, 2005; Heydon 2005). This chapter aims to unpack the structure of interviews from a linguistic perspective and demonstrate that choosing the right strategy when changing the topic in a conversation can impact the rapport between interactants, their capacity to volunteer reliable information and the admissibility of evidence. Topic management in police interviews will be analysed using linguistic methods primarily drawn from Conversation Analysis (Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson, 1974). The results will be applied to the dominant international interviewing models in order to explain the relevance of linguistic perspectives to the practice of police interviewing. Finally, this chapter will discuss the opportunities and challenges around introducing linguistic insights to police officers during their interviewing training courses.
Copyright notice © 2018 Walter de Gruyter Inc.,
ISBN 9781614516699
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