No use of props - or any other kind of evidence - during an interview
When executing an investigative interview, the only thing you should possess is your case file. Within that file, you might have examples of evidence, such as pictures, copies of documents, emails, reports or administrative documentation you might want to reference. The file should never contain props or any form of fabricated evidence and you should never enter an interview with the intent to intimidate by means of deception. This is reflective of an unconfident, unprepared investigator only focused on obtaining a confession, not the truth.
So what does ‘no props’ mean? It means you shouldn’t enter into an interview with a stack of videos or DVDs to give the impression that you have more evidence than you actually possess. That is not the best way to build credibility and it may lead to some challenges during the interview process, creating confrontation. If your subject sees a stack of DVDs or flash drives, that might cause them to ask you, “Hey, what’s on those? Can I see those?” It’s best not to reveal evidence to the subject in an effort to substantiate the truth and make sure the admission can be preserved.
The most effective way —morally, ethically, and strategically—is to discuss the process of an investigation. Talk about the types of information you could gather, rather than revealing evidence during the interview. This tactic will mitigate challenges and denials, and, ultimately help you substantiate details of the admission. Make sure you are well-prepared when you initiate the interview so you don’t leave to verify anything, but never ever use props.
by Chris Norris, CFI