Investigative interviewing of suspected sex offenders: a review of what constitutes best practice

J. Read, Martine Powell, M. Kebbell, Becky Milne

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Research on the topic of investigative interviewing of suspected sex offenders is still in its infancy, with the majority of work to date focusing on developing theories underlying confessions, and reflecting on the value of specific interview techniques that have been observed in the field. This paper provides a synthesis of the literature in order to produce a preliminary guide to best practice for the interviewing of this particular interviewee group. Specifically, this review is structured around five elements that should be considered when planning for and administering the interview. These elements include: (a) establishing rapport, (b) introducing the topic of concern, (c) eliciting narrative detail, (d) clarification/specific questions and (e) closure. The unique contribution of this paper is its practical focus, and its synthesis of findings across a variety of streams, including the general eyewitness memory literature, legislation and case law, therapeutic literature, and research specifically related to the interviewing of offenders (including confessions). At the conclusion of the review, recommendations are offered for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-459
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science & Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • investigative interviewing
  • police training
  • sexual offences
  • suspect interviewing


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