Investigation is a core duty of policing. Investigative
interviewing is used to gather accounts of crime from victims and witnesses.
The Home Office 1992 published a set of guidelines on the
subject of investigative interviewing. These guidelines are created to exist alongside
the Human Rights legislations. This ensures the techniques used by the police
service do not violate an individual’s fundamental rights.
According to the PACE Act, there is no limitation on the
questions asked by the police investigator. However, there are seven principles
used to conduct interviews. Each one has a crucial role and therefore important
to the process of investigation.
The second principle is “Investigators must act fairly when questioning victims, witnesses or
suspects. They must ensure that they comply with all the provisions and duties
under the Equality Act
2010 and the Human Rights
Investigators must use common sense, judgements and actual
facts to assess the accuracy of what an individual is saying. An investigator is
not allowed to be prejudice and
The fourth principle is “Investigators are free to ask a wide range of questions in an interview
in order to obtain material which may assist an investigation and provide
sufficient evidence or information.”
Police investigators are able to ask a wide range of
questions to ensure they obtain any material needed to investigate a crime. Investigators
need to provide sufficient evidence and information to then carry out arrests
and make charges. Investigators are not bound by the same rules that lawyers
such as solicitors must abide by.
However, although investigators have the freedom to ask
such questions, the interviewing style used must not be unfair or oppressive. The
PACE codes of practise, as well the PACE act 1984 needed to be acted in
The sixth principle is “The police interviewer is not bound to accept the first answer given.
Questioning is not unfair merely because it is persistent” (college.policing.uk).
An investigative officer needs to ensure he obtains
accurate and reliable information. Many victims and witnesses are not always
forthcoming with accounts. It is important that the police have the truth
before arrests or charges can occur. Victims, witnesses and suspects may not
always provide the complete truth. The police service are entitled to being
sceptic, in the interest of fairness. When there is reason for doubts on what
an individual is saying, the police are able to be persistent on those grounds.
Furthermore, the investigating officer may believe an individual has not
provided them with all the information. Careful and continued question will
ensure all the information is provided.
In 1976, Stefan Kizko was given a life sentence for the
murder of Lesley Meed. Lesley was an 11-year-old girl who murdered and sexually
assaulted. Kizko was falsely accused and found guilty. Kizko was a man with the
mentality of a child, who was unable to understand the situation he was in. The
investigating officers of this case questioned Kizko for the 2 days with no
solicitor present. He then confessed to the crime, believing that if he did so,
he would be able to go home. Kizko was imprisoned for 32 years, this caused his
mental health to further deteriorate.
There is a risk of persistent questioning. Persistent
questioning is likely to turn into oppressive questioning. Oppressive
questioning can lead to evidence being disregarded in court and considered an inadmissible,
such as confessions obtained. In the R v Paris 1992, also known as the case of
the Cardiff three, the defendant (Tony Paris) took part in a 13-hour interview.
Paris confessed to the crime after first denying his guilt at least 300 times. No
violence was used but the interview style was deemed as oppressive.
During a break in the interview, the solicitor reads out a
A pre-prepared statement is a written copy of the details
of the case from the point of view of the defence. This is usually done at the
beginning of a suspect’s interview. It may be used during or after an
investigative interview. There is no statutory basis for pre-prepared
statements, it is mainly an accepted defence tactic. This defence tactic is
used to lower the risk of a defendant being cross examined. It provides a
safety net as many suspects have a lack of knowledge of procedures and police
interviewing techniques. However, there are many circumstances as to why
pre-prepared statements may not always benefit suspects and in some cases
actually cause them harm.
Pre-prepared statements can be dangerous to a defendant as
adverse inference can be drawn.
Section 34(1)(a) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act
‘Where, in any proceedings against a person for an offence, evidence is
given that the accused-
(a) at any
time before he was charged with the offence, on being questioned under caution
by a constable trying to discover whether or by whom the offence had been
committed, failed to mention any fact relied on in his defence in those
Inconsistencies between the prepared statement and the
defence at trial may be regarded as a lie from the defendant when previously creating
the statement. In the case of R v Knight 2003, it was proven that adverse
inference is drawn from failing to answer questions from information already
stated in the pre-prepared statement and not drawn from just failing to answer
questions. The conclusion from this case was that “We wish to make it
crystal clear that of itself the making of a pre-prepared statement gives no
automatic immunity against adverse inferences under section 34′” (R v Knight 2003 EWCA 1977, Laws LJ)
In many cases, defendants will completely rely on the
information they provided in their pre-prepared statements, refusing to answer
any further questions from the police investigators. However, in some
circumstances, this does not benefit the individuals, as vital but basic
information could be missed out or forgotten that could help oneself at trial.
R v Bourgass is an example of when all relevant information was not provided. The
police were looking for an individual relating to terrorism. They were provided
with a passport picture, as well as a search warrant. The defendant picked up a
knife and wounded 3 officers and killed another. The defendant was then
convicted for murder. In his pre-prepared statement, he stated he tried to escape
the building and that he armed himself with the knife with the intention of
scaring the officers. In the statement, he stated he did not cause the officer
serious or who he caught with the knife. However, he missed out vital
information such as why he needed to escape and how the police showed no
aggression towards him. Due to the defendant refusing to answer questions, the
statement was the only defence he had and therefore convicted.