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Investigation Interviewing Tips

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  1. Before interviewing the suspect if possible visit his or her office. There will probably be numerous indicators of his or her personality that will help you in your interview.

  2. Has the suspectís office got items that are calculated to impress visitors, such as leather covered desktops, fancy pen and pencil sets, expensive cardholders, costly picture frames, and so on?

    If there are many of these items the suspect may try to impress the interviewer. Asking questions that give him or her the opportunity to boast are likely to result in the suspect giving you information they did not intend to.

  3. Are there framed photographs of friends and especially work colleagues in the office?

    If there are, it may indicate that he or she cares a great deal for workmates and what they think.

    Peer pressure may thus be an important factor in his or her decision to confess or hold out.

  4. What books are in the suspectís office? Career oriented books may indicate seriousness, ambition and conscientiousness.

    Unread books may indicate a lack of commitment.

    A collection of books that are not related to work in an office are generally significant because they could easily be kept at home, but are not.

  5. Look at the suspectís calendar. The calendar may indicate the suspectís hobby or interest, which is useful to use in the interview to establish rapport.

  6. Are there photographs of the suspect with celebrities or senior people at work?

    If these are prominently displayed they may be little more than visual bragging.

    Playing to the suspectís ego or sense of pride may be a useful tool in convincing him or her to confess.

    The suspect may be more of an emotional than a logical person, so taking an emotional approach in questioning may produce far better results than a strictly logical one.

  7. Look closely at the suspectís desk calendar/diary.

    There have been numerous cases of suspectís writing incriminating information in their desk calendars.

    These have included records of acts done for which they received bribes, records of meetings with others involved in frauds or corruption, details of where fraudulently obtained funds are hidden or spent, etc

  8. Are there pictures of pets, kittens, puppies and other animals displayed in the office?

    These generally indicate a more emotional person.

    In the interview using a logical approach in questioning and relying on the strength of the evidence is not likely to be as successful as using a more emotional approach.

    A more emotional approach relies to a greater degree on appeals to conscience, discussing the effect of the fraud on others, emphasising the cathartic relief of confessing, considering the personís family, etc.

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For more tips, advice and practical pointers see our Investigation Manual.