When law enforcement interview witnesses and write their statements

Date

2022-08-29

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

1477-271X

Volume Title

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Eyewitness testimony is important to criminal investigations. Research has found that remembering is a process that can be distorted by various factors, such as how witnesses are interviewed. Further, prior research has 10 also found that written statements taken by the investigator are not always accurate. The present study explored for what is believed the first time whether interviewing skills are associated with both how much correct verbal information is provided by witnesses and also the accuracy of written statements, using a sample of 30 interviews conducted by 15 serving professional investigators. We found greater inaccuracies at each of these two phases when interviewers were assessed as being less skilled, when compared to interviews conducted by their more highly rated counterparts. Interviewing skills thus appear important when interviewers attempt to gain accurate information from witnesses, and when they 20 generate accurate written statements. Implications for policies and practice, and for future research, are discussed.

Description

The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.

Keywords

Investigative interviews, eyewitness testimony, written witness statements, Information/evidence distortions

Citation

Walsh, D., Areh, I., Minhas, R., and Menzies, S-L (2022) When law enforcement interview witnesses and write their statements. Police Practice and Research.

Rights

Research Institute

Centre for Law, Justice and Society