and mental makeup.
Use this understanding to gain useful information.
the following factors and how they affect the accuracy of the information given.
The validity of the information revealed during an
interview or an interrogation is influenced by the subject's ability to do three
things. He must be able to understand correctly what he saw happen. He must be
able to remember that information and to give it correctly to you. A mistake made
in recalling a particular incident is often due to:
(1) A weakness in the subject's ability to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch.
(2) The location of the subject in relation to the incident.
(Rarely do two
people give the same account of an incident witnessed by them.)
(3) A lapse of time since the event occurred, or the person's having had no
reason for attaching much importance to it when it occurred. The account given of
an incident at a later time is often colored, consciously or unconsciously, by what
the person has heard or seen of it since its occurrence. Also, a person may fill
in the gaps in his knowledge of a particular incident by rationalizing what he
actually did see or hear. He may then repeat the entire mixture of fabrication and
fact to you as the truth.
To prevent this, a person should be interviewed or
interrogated as soon as possible after an incident occurs.
Even then all of the
investigator's skills are required to discover what the person actually did
When answering questions, persons may be influenced by one type
of prejudice or another.
Be alert to this possibility.
Attempt to discover the
motivation behind such prejudice.
A statement influenced by prejudice should be
c. Reluctance to Talk.
You may deal with a person who is reluctant to give
You must legally overcome this reluctance in order to secure the
needed fact. The most common reasons for reluctance to talk are as follows:
(1) Fear of Self-Involvement.
Many people are not familiar with the police
methods. They are afraid, therefore, to give the police their aid. They may have
committed a minor offense that they believe will be brought to light upon the least
involvement with the police.
They may be of the opinion that the incidents that
occurred are not their business, or that guilt lies with both the victims and the
accused. They may fear the publicity that may be given to people involved in any
way with criminal cases. They may fear revenge by the subjects or his associates
against them, their family, or property.
Many people deny knowledge of incidents because they do
not wish to be bothered by being questioned or by being required to go court.