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Source handler telephone interactions with covert human intelligence sources: an exploration of question types and intelligence yield

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Law Enforcement Agencies gather intelligence in order to prevent criminal activity and pursue criminals. In the context of human intelligence collection, intelligence elicitation relies heavily upon the deployment of appropriate evidence-based interviewing techniques (a topic rarely covered in the extant research literature). The present research gained unprecedented access to audio recorded telephone interactions (N = 105) between Source Handlers and Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) from England and Wales. The research explored the mean use of various question types per interaction and across all questions asked in the sample, as well as comparing the intelligence yield for appropriate and inappropriate questions. Source Handlers were found to utilise vastly more appropriate questions than inappropriate questions, though they rarely used open-ended questions. Across the total interactions, appropriate questions (by far) were associated with the gathering of much of the total intelligence yield. Implications for practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)1473-1484
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date19 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2020


  • acp.3726

    Final published version, 967 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY

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