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A comparative linguistic analysis of strategies used in police interviews in the UK and the USA.
RMIT University, Australia
Although the nine-step interrogation stage of the Reid method of interviewing used in North America has attracted a great deal of criticism and commentary from a variety of academics and practitioners, there are few, if any, published studies that provide a systematic linguistic analysis of the interrogation techniques suggested. Snook et al (2010) subject the Reid techniques to scrutiny from a psychological perspective, especially the reliance on behavioural indicators of deception and the intense focus on seeking a confession, and support the use of cognitive interviewing (Fisher, Geiselman and Amador 1989), or other information seeking approaches instead. Such a systematic critique of the Reid Method has not yet been conducted using linguistic theories and frameworks of analysis, and it seems timely that such an attempt should be made. This paper therefore compares the discourse and interactional structures of the cognitive interviewing method, an evidence-based model for best practice investigative interviewing (Clarke and Milne 2001), with the linguistic features of the Reid technique, as it is represented in the literature (Inbau, Reid, Buckley and Jayne 2011). Claims made by the authors of the Reid Method about the efficacy of several specific language strategies are subjected to linguistic analysis in order to ascertain firstly whether they are based on sound linguistic theory and research findings, and secondly how they compare to the techniques used in cognitive interviewing.