The investigative interview contribution to law enforcement: perceptions of Portuguese police officers and magistrates

Paulo Barbosa Marques, Becky Milne

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The Cognitive Interview (CI) offers a systematic method for increasing the amount of relevant information obtained from a witness without compromising accuracy.

Purpose: This research aimed to investigate police officers’ perceptions of their interviewing practices with specific reference to their use of the cognitive interview components. Second, it was intended to assess how useful prosecutors and judges consider the cognitive interview techniques.

Method: A sample of 362 police officers’ from 4 Portuguese law enforcement agencies and a sample of 148 Magistrates (64 Judges and 84 Prosecutors) completed a self-report questionnaire concerning their perceptions of witness interviewing practices.

Results: The results indicated that officers’ report they use some techniques more often than others. Police officers’ also tended to opt for more intuitive techniques (e.g. rapport, uninterrupted account) and move away from the more advanced techniques and mnemonics that help an extensive retrieval (e.g. recall in variety of orders, change perspective). This may be indicative of insufficient training in techniques that promote more efficient recall.

Conclusion: In fact, regardless of the criminal police body in Portugal, there is still a long way to go with regard training police officers’ in adequate procedures to obtain better testimonial evidence. It is perceived that the current training of criminal investigators is simplistic, relying mainly on intuitive techniques and disregarding the contributions of the scientific community.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Law Enforcement Research Bulletin
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2019
EventCEPOL Research & Science Conference 2017: Innovations in Law Enforcement - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 28 Nov 201730 Nov 2017


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