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

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