Sunday, 28 March 2010

Private Detective's Interrogation Skills 'Leading a Lamb to Slaughter'

One of the hardest disciplines to master as a Private Investigator is the that of interviewing and interrogation. Government bodies have become very PC over the last decade and the word interrogation is rarely used, save for the unofficial conversations with British passport holders who have taken an unexpected vacation in Cuba.

Interviewing is quite simply the process that the private investigator uses in order to gather information. The interviewer's objective is to gather as much relevant information as possible, therefore they must manage the conversation in order to keep the interviewee focused on important subjects. However it must be managed not controlled. If the interviewer becomes too focused on their objective then the interviewee will realise what is occurring and become uncomfortable and defensive.

Interrogation however is far more complex and requires a good degree of planning and preparation. On this occasion the private investigator takes on the role of an interrogator and is after specific answers as opposed to general information. The interrogator will have a number of important questions to ask and should anticipate the likely answers and have back-up questions prepared in case they are required. This does not mean that the interrogator should have a written list of questions, far from it. The interrogator must establish and maintain a rapport with the subject of the interrogation and then guide the subject to the issues they wish to discuss.

The best way to describe the relationship between the interrogator and the subject is as follows.

Imagine a scene where a farmer decides to slaughter one of his lambs. If he walks into the pen carrying a large knife and wearing a blood proof apron the the lambs will panic and scatter everywhere. Far better that he strolls into the pen carrying a handful of maze and patiently waits for the chosen lamb to approach. He then stokes the animal and talks to it in a calm voice whilst gently leading it away from the flock. Once the animal is completely at ease he is free to draw his slaughter knife and strike the killing blow.

That is what a professional interrogator must do in order to achieve the desired result. Place the subject at ease, gently guide them through the conversation and then deliver the killer question with the same skill as the farmer slitting the lamb's throat.

Its like Hannibal Lecter inviting someone out for dinner without his dinner guest ever realising that they are the main course.

In my next blog I will show you how its done.

Dan Sharp
Private Detective

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Infidelity 'Unfaithfully Yours' Part Two

In my last post I left you wondering what Gary was going to do with the information he received by text suggesting that his loving wife was cheating on him.

So what would you do if you found yourself in the same situation?

Well Gary did what just about every other person would do, he showed the text to Emma and asked her to read it. But this is where he made his first and biggest mistake.

There are thousands of so called 'Body Language' experts out there making vast amounts of money trying to convince people that reading body language is a skill that can only be mastered by buying their book or DVD. This is absolute nonsense. Everyone over the age of 21 should consider themselves to be an expert in reading body language because that is exactly what we have all being doing since we opened our eyes for the first time.

However the only way you can spot if someone is lying to you is to first make sure that you observe their behaviour when you know they are telling the truth (this is called base-line behaviour). You then carefully watch for any changes in their behaviour whilst you question them about a particular subject ie. an unusual text message implying that your partner is cheating on you. I have simplified it somewhat but I have used this method thousands of times and it has proven to be reliable on every occasion.

So Gary should have firstly considered the content of the text, asked his wife a number of questions to which he knew the answers. established base-line behaviour and then showed her the text and then and only then asked her specific questions about the content of the texts.

Gary however let his emotions get the better of him and immediately started to challenge Emma. His questions included, 'What is going on?' Are you having an affair?' Who is this person?' Emma, understandably went straight on the defensive which is what most people will do. However it also enables the dishonest person to pretend indignation and thereby avoid having to answer difficult questions. This is called avoidance behaviour and is often punctuated with phrases like, 'Are you accusing me of lying?' 'I'm not putting up with your accusations' 'What is wrong with you?' This is often followed by withdrawal behaviour where the guilty party walks off and successfully evades having to answer any difficult searching questions about their infidelity.

Gary asked Emma three questions before she said 'I don't believe you don't trust me' and then she stormed out of the room. This was followed by a blazing row during which Gary took hold of Emma's arm after she tried to hit him in the face. A short while later Emma called the police and Gary was arrested for assault.

Happy Valentine's Day Gary.

In my next blog I will explain what Gary should have done.

Dan Sharp
Private Eye.