Investigative Interviewing: new research
Introduction of procedural interviews instead of traditional interrogation methods is a contemporary global trend aimed at improving the efficiency of law enforcement agencies.
The procedural interview directs law enforcement officers to conduct a systematic and comprehensive investigation of the circumstances of the crime and prevents the establishment of premature conclusions on the case. As a result, this method helps law enforcement agencies effectively investigate crimes and provide due process guarantees for suspects at the same time, contributing in such a way to the formation of a stable relationship of trust with the community.
National practice of conducting interrogations by pre-trial investigation bodies in Ukraine does not fully comply with the standards of procedural interviews and features more inherent to the accusatory approach of obtaining information from a suspect, focused on receiving confession of a crime from the suspect and information about all the circumstances of the offence.
Andrij Orlean, head of the ECHR Human Rights and justice program, one of the authors of the study
The main disadvantages of the existing interrogation methods by law enforcement agencies in Ukraine include:
improper training of investigators to conduct interrogations;
investigators failure to properly explain the rights and the procedure of the interrogation to the suspect person;
usage of various psychological manipulations during the interrogation in order to mislead the suspect;
conducting interrogations in the premises not adapted for this purpose, etc;
sparing use of video recording during interrogations.
This approach persists for a number of reasons, namely:
fragmentary and outdated system of training for law enforcement officers on conducting of interrogations (dispersion of the topic in various disciplines, the inconsistency of disciplines, lack of time for study, lack of practical training, non-use of modern developments in the area of procedural interviews);
lack of interrogation quality assessing system, support and advising for the new employees in pre-trial investigation bodies;
excessive overload of investigators;
absence of special rooms for conducting interrogations equipped with video recording systems in the divisions of pre-trial investigation bodies;
investigators ‘ disinterest in high-quality out-of-court interrogation due to the inability to use its results during the trial.
Recommendations based on research results
To develop a national strategy for implementing procedural interviewing, which involves consolidating the efforts of various institutions around implementing systemic changes in this area and includes the following recommendations.
Changes in the legal regulation of interrogation
1.1. Allow the courts to use the evidence given during the pre-trial investigation, provided that the criteria for admissibility of evidence are met, as well as ensuring procedural guarantees for the interrogated persons (participation of a lawyer, ensuring the right to silence, video recording of the interrogation, etc.).
1.2. Remove the ban provided by part 4 of art. 224 of the Criminal Procedure Code the obligation of the person conducting the interrogation to stop it immediately after the suspect refuses to answer questions and give evidence. In order to ensure due process guarantees for the suspect against improper treatment, it is advisable to limit the duration of the interrogation in such situations, as well as to prohibit the repeating of questions which the person denied to answer.
1.3. Eliminate the need to make statements in the text of the Protocol at the request of participants of the investigative action if the video recording of the interrogation was carried out (paragraph 2 of part 2 of art. 104 of the Code of Criminal Procedure), in order to save time for conducting the interrogation and processing its results.
Ensuring the development of law enforcement personnel
2.1. Develop and implement a national training program on procedural interviewing for different levels of training for prosecutors, investigators (detectives) and operatives, as well as for managers specially (both basic training during education and primary professional training, advanced training and additional training).
2.2. Prepare guidelines (training manual) for conducting a procedural interview, adapted to Ukrainian legislation, based on the best international practices and research, as well as the results of piloting procedural interview in Ukraine.
2.3. Provide a step-by-step training program on procedural interviews for all available investigators (detectives).
2.4. Ensure that the leaders of investigators (detectives) take step by step procedural interviews training program for managers.
Support for the introduction of procedural interviews by pre-trial investigation bodies
3.1. Develop and implement policies regarding the use of procedural interviews.
3.2. Develop and implement a competency model for investigators (detectives) in conducting procedural interviews.
3.3. Ensure the implementation of a system for monitoring and evaluating the quality of interviews and the skills of investigators (detectives).
3.4. Activate the mentoring scheme and spread the best practices in procedural interviewing.
3.5. Develop and approve uniform standards for pre-trial investigation bodies for the arrangement of interrogation rooms.
3.6. Equip each territorial division of pre-trial investigation bodies with at least one interrogation room in accordance with approved standards.
3.7. Introduce uniform templates of interrogation protocols, the interrogation plan and the quality assessment of the interrogation into the practice of pre-trial investigation bodies.
The implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations involves consolidating the efforts of various institutions and uniting them around the idea of transforming interrogation into a modern practice of procedural interviewing. In order to effectively support these changes, spread the best practices of procedural interviews, as well as form strong professional ties between investigators (detectives) of various institutions we consider it necessary to create a National steering group for the implementation of procedural interviews, which could include representatives of institutions, educational institutions, researchers in the field of procedural interviews and other interested persons. Effective activities of such a group can significantly contribute to the development and implementation of procedural interviews in Ukraine.
The study was initiated, organised and financed by the Human Rights and Justice program of the International Renaissance Foundation