A Criminal Investigation

In criminal cases, providing evidence is always a difficult process

that requires extensive study and information gathering. The data given in the form of figures or statements must be adequate for making decisions and valid enough to be included in a good compilation of evidence. A cognitive interview is thought to be the most effective method for information gathering because it aids the respondent in remembering all the details of what happened at a particular location. To determine whether a respondent is a suspect or not, the investigators occasionally have a tendency to depend on the respondent's body language. The Reid method of suspect interviewing is where this type of suspect identification is most frequently used. In Canada, the Reid method has been replaced by the PEACE model, since it proves to be more efficient and non-subjective. The article analyzes the criminal investigation techniques in terms of their mode, advantages, and disadvantages, and also gives an explanation for the shift from Reid to PEACE modes of suspect interrogation.

Essay 1: Enhanced Cognitive Interview


The design of cognitive interviews accommodates cognitive functions that are well-known to avoid chances that may significantly contribute in leading witnesses. Enhanced cognitive interview comprises of two primary assumptions: first, there is an effective memory whenever it is possible to reinstate the content of original/initial events; and second, interconnected networks constitute the memory of events. As a matter of fact, an enhanced cognitive interview is purposely designed to promote accurate recall using sets of instructions. Today, an enhanced cognitive interview is effective and it significantly and consistently increase the amount of correct information police can gather from cooperative victims and witnesses compared to a standard police interview.

Effectiveness of Cognitive Interview

One of the factors that make enhanced cognitive interview is the reconstructive nature of the model. Unlike the perception of most investigators, memory does not have the capacity of electronic recording devices thus human beings do not experience, record, and then recall upon request (Alan, 2010). Enhanced cognitive interview promotes encoding of different aspects of an event in the various parts of the brain. Therefore, all information is channeled to its appropriate destination in the brain in which it becomes relatively easy to recall the information upon request – stored information/data is collected in bits as the model reconstructs the whole experience.

Second, enhanced cognitive interview takes into consideration interview similarity. Conducting an interview in an environment with conditions that resemble those at the event experienced is critical in recalling the series of events (Alexander, 2013). Such environment helps victims to recall and reconstruct fast various features or elements of experiences such as emotions (feelings or fear), cognitive features (relevant thoughts) and external factors (weather) during the event.

Cognitive interviews allow the police or the criminal investigation specialists to get as much details as they can, even concerning matters that may be considered trivial. The investigators use their intelligence to get the information without having to coerce or compel the victims, witnesses or suspects. Such information can then be used to get high-value information concerning the incident (Castelli, 2012). For example, in a scene of robbery, the victims may get to the point of revealing the names of those who might have threatened to perform the act or may give narratives of their precious conversations of people or an individual who was potentially a robber. This may help in the identification of the first suspect who may later be proven guilty. Moreover, deeper tactful interviews with the suspect may also give information on which other suspects are, and their whereabouts.

Research work has also revealed that cognitive interview has no connection with the emotional stability of as person since the question is structured not to give the respondent a clue of what to say. The interviewer frames the question in a general manner and this makes the respondent have series of memories about the same event (Einstein, 2015). He (the respondent) therefore gives all information about the incident, and this increases the chances of getting more accurate and adequate information, which can be used to determine the actual perpetrators and reason behind the act.


Investigators undergo thorough training on how to conduct cognitive interviews with the victims, witnesses, and suspects. All these take a different approach, as the search for information may be top-down or bottom-up (Fisher Rupert, 2015). However, regardless of the approach used, information obtained is always accurate since the methods used help in unearthing all aspects of a given scene. It is, therefore, advisable that cognitive interview is used for facts finding, in preference to other methods of investigation.

Essay 2: Ability to Detect Deception during Investigative Interviews


Body language can be important in determining whether there is an element of deception during investigate interviews and thus should be looked into keenly by investigators. In some occasions, body language could indicate that a victim is deceiving even though he/she may be saying the truth (Hague Academic Coalition, 2014). At the same time, some individuals understand most of the common signs used by victims in an attempt to deceive hence such people do completely the complete to convince the victim that what they are saying is actually true. Consequently, using physical queues to detect deception is rather challenging. However, being aware of the typical deception signs make many people including many criminal investigators believe that they can easily and reliably detect when another person is lying to them by observing the person’s body language, or by analyzing the words they use when giving a statement.

Detecting Deception from Body Language

The ability to detect deception during investigative interviews calls for a lot of keenness and careful observation of the victims being interviewed. Also, there is a need to get adequate exposure to various signs and symptoms of deception (Hague Academic Coalition, 2014). One of the key areas that determine our ability to detect deception is the keenness to choice of words used by interviewees. Investigators can get powerful clues leading to truth by carefully analyzing the language used by victims. Indeed, it should be noted that once interviewees begin to talk, interviewers must detect deception. Again, the ability to detect element of deception rely on the interviewer’s capacity to identify the form of deception as well as the specific deception elements as narrated by interviewee.

The other factor that determines the ability to detect deception and is ignored by many people including criminal investigators is training. Like any other life skill, it is crucial that people, especially those dealing with criminal investigations, practice frequently. This way, we get the exposure to new and various signs and symptoms of deception that are useful in conducting investigations (Kassin Samual, 2010). Also, such training contributes significantly to building confidence among interviewees.

The investigators should be able to determine a witness or suspect whose natural behavior proves to be so efficient in hiding deception. Psychology has shown that there are people who have the ability to behave in a way that clears out the doubt that they may be suspicious of committing a given crime (Alan, 2010). Moreover, witnesses may also act in a way that may convince the investigator that their testimony is true and reflects exactly what happened, and a true narration of the suspect’s behavior. Therefore, the investigator must be efficiently trained to identify the ‘artificial personalities of the witnesses or victims.

Investigators work very closely with lawyers, advocates and other members of the judiciary, to promote justice for all and promote the conservation of human dignity for everyone. However, in some cases, the respondent may be coerced to give false information during the hearing process or may be bribed or compelled to give false information (Castelli, 2012). Moreover, some victims may be bribed, or be subjected to questions that force them to give false information. Investigators should have the intellectual ability to identify any form of information manipulation, and even from the manipulated information, they should be able to create an almost perfect structure of the information.


Information distortion normally challenges investigative procedures during the process of hearing. It has also been proven that during facts finding, some of the respondents play innocent and truthful, even if they are the actual suspects, witnesses of victims. This has been curbed by the thorough training of the investigative personnel, to be able to read the body languages of the respondents and from them, determine whether they are hiding the true information.

Essay 3: Changes in the Investigative Approaches in Canada


Today, many countries experience changes in the investigative interviewing practices following the adjustments in the criminal laws and changes in the security sector. With the ever-changing technology across the world, various crimes are committed resulting in a lot of investigations that would see victims get justice (Rand Corporation, 2015). Consequently, different nations have attempted to come up with investigative practices, which are effective and conducive in resolving criminal cases. One such country is Canada - over the last five years, or so, Canada has undergone a significant change in its investigative interviewing practices. In particular, Canada has shifted from Reid technique of interviewing and interrogation to PEACE model of investigative interviewing, and quite some police services in the country are likely to follow suit in the future due to a lot of criticism on the former approach especially from scientific and legal experts, and Canadian police services.

The Shift from Reid Technique to PEACE Technique in Interrogating Suspects

The massive criticism and scrutiny of Reid technique have resulted from the different problems that the technique has caused. For instance, over the years, Reid approach has been a subject of charter violations and false confessions for quite a long time – the technique has been identified as one in which ‘innocence is not an option’ (Rafal, 2013). In most cases, Reid technique due to the inhuman treatment and prejudgment by the police – interviewees are confronted immediately they are taken through initial interview, which is purely meant to obtain facts. During the confrontation, suspects are considered guilty thus they have no option even if they are innocent.

The Reid technique was observed to be very subjective to the suspects in that the investigators discern suspects from their behaviors during the first interview. It is quite possible that at this stage, one many possibly be under the influence of fear, especially if he/she has never had such an encounter with the investigators (Kassin Samual, 2010). For instance, an investigator may judge someone on his inability to maintain eye contact during an interview, or his rapid breathing and fidgeting. In Canada, before the introduction of the PEACE technique, suspects could be wrongly convicted and put to sentence. However, research work still questions whether there is a connection between someone’s body language and personal behavior.

The Reid technique has also been criticized for its ability to make innocent to falsely confess to being suspects, due to the initial presumption of suspicion by the investigators. In the Reid technique, investigators consider one a suspect at the initial contact with him (Kassin Samual, 2010). He/she is therefore handled as a suspect, and in the process of interrogation, he falsely accepts suspicion, maybe to avoid the nature of mental and psychological torture that arises from the questions. Some cases were also noticed where the suspects could be jailed, or those considered genuine witnesses were held in custody to provide evidence.


The Canadian intelligence system is moving from the Reid system of investigations to the PEACE system, which is considered more procedural and understandable both by the judicial system and the victims. It holds to the principle that one is not considered a criminal until proven guilty by the court of law. It has therefore been reviewed and adopted for interrogation purposes and has been welcomed by most of the judicial systems in the country.


Alan, T. (2010). The doubt on police over criminal investigation laws. London: London Publishers.

Alexander, V. (2013). Interviewing Suspects: Psychology of the Law- Truthfulness, accuracy and credibility. Maidenland, UK: Hill Publishers.

Castelli, G. (2012). Estimating the effect of misleading information on witness accuracy. New York: Academic Press.

Einstein, L. (2015). Leading Questions and eye witness report: Cognitive Psychology. Hague: The Hague publishers.

Fisher Rupert, G. E. (2015). Memory enhancing techniques for investigative interviewing: the cognitive interview. Berlin: Berlin Press.

Hague Academic Coalition. (2014). The rule of law inventory report. Netherlands: Hiil Press.

Kassin Samual, P. T. (2010). Interviewing suspects: practice, science and future directions: Legal and criminal Psychology. North Carolina: North Carolina Law Review.

Loftus Einstein, Z. F. (2014). Eyewitness testimony: the influence of the wording of a question. Hague: Holland Psychonomic society.

Rafal, M. (2013). Using scoreboards to assess justice systems. Melbourne: Melnbourne publishers.

Rand corporation. (2015). The criminal investigation process. Tand corporation technical report. Santa Monica: Santa Monica Community Press.

Taylor, R. A. (2012). Core challenges facing community policing: the emperor has no clothes. Michigan: University of Michigan.

Zulawski David, D. W. (2011). Practical aspects of interview and interrogation. Washington DC: CRC press.

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