4. THE OPENING STATEMENT.
a. When the introduction is complete, make a general statement about the case
without disclosing any exact facts. The statement should be so worded as to create
an understanding between you and the person. Such a statement is a good point on
which to begin discussion.
It also affords you more time to "size up" the
b. If the person is a suspect or accused, then ensure that the suspect or
accused fully understands his rights as set forth in paragraph 5. Remember, just
warning the subject of his rights is not enough; you must ensure that he
understands his rights.
5. CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW.
Your attitude and actions usually decide the success or failure of the
interview. Be friendly and businesslike. Try to get the subject into a talkative
Try also to guide the conversation toward the person's knowledge of the
The person should be allowed to tell his complete story without unneeded
interruptions. The questions should be phrased as to maintain a free flow of talk,
rather than brief "yes" or "no" answers. Mentally note any inconsistencies. After
the person has completed his story, get him to explain anything not consistent.
6. APPROACHES WITH WITNESSES.
The indirect approach is generally used with ready, willing, and able
They are simply asked to tell their stories in their own way; and
the investigator is mainly a "listener," asking questions only when needed to
Leading questions which suggest an expected answer are avoided.
When the subject is not ready, willing, and able to give information, use the
direct approach: ask direct questions; become the "questioner." Leading questions
are sometimes necessary but should be avoided especially with an unstable person.
Photographs and sketches are often useful during interviews.
When shown to
interviewees, they orient interviewees and investigators.
They help to ensure
mutual understanding and to assure complete coverage of the matter being discussed.
Sketches are very valuable during questioning of large numbers of persons. These
may be persons who were present when multiple offenses were committed (such as
riots and war crimes).
The people questioned can find their own positions on
sketches and relate these sketches for identification.
Preserve them and
photographs for possible use as exhibits in court.
If possible, the complainant should be interviewed first, to
determine whether the crime occurred as alleged. When interviewing a complainant,
be receptive and sympathetic.
Let the complainant know that you recognize the
importance of the complaint and intend to take proper action. Be tactful and open-
minded toward the person and his complaint, but be equally realistic and careful in
developing complete information.
Attempt to establish the motive for the
complaint. Be alert for any grudge or jealousy