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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
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Early online date2 Aug 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 2 Aug 2020


  • Source Handler Telephone Interactions with Covert Human Intelligence Sources

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Nunan, J., Stanier, I., Milne, R., Shawyer, A. and Walsh, D. (2020), Source Handler Telephone Interactions with Covert Human Intelligence Sources: An Exploration of Question Types and Intelligence Yield. Appl Cognit Psychol. Accepted Author Manuscript, which has been published in final form at doi:10.1002/acp.3726. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 544 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 27/07/21

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