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The main reason of carrying out interviews is to obtain information regarding the incident, whereas interrogation is to determine whether the subject has actually committed a crime or to obtain a confession from the suspect. Normally, victims and witnesses are interviewed while the suspects are interrogated. However, when victims and witnesses are not willing to give information, they may be forced to provide it through being interrogated. Witnesses can also be suspects, since when they are being interviewed the investigator may discover the evidence that show the witness being a suspect, thus he may shift from interviewing to interrogation in order to obtain the evidence that the subject actually committed the crime.

Planning for an Interview

When planning an interview a person must have knowledge of these three things which are important. Firstly, the investigator must know well the case, this will facilitate the easy flow of interviewing questions. Secondly, the background of the interviewee should be well known, such as education, criminal record, profession, religion and culture. Finally, the investigator should have a rough idea of the kind of information to be obtained from the person interviewed.

Before carrying out interviews, an interviewer must have the information about all the details of the case. What happened? When did the incident happen and where? How did it occur and who is involved? Why does this refer to the case? These will give a hint about the kind of question that should be asked during the interviews. In most cases, when interviewing the witness or victim, the investigator listens to the questions answered unlike interrogation, where investigator follows what the suspect says.

The background of the interviewee is in relation to the age, the place of birth, and nationality. Educational background and profession will enable the investigator to know the terms to use during the interview. Language well known and understood by the interviewee should be considered before conducting the interview in order to decide whether the interpreter is needed. Determining whether the witness or victim has ever been involved in any case before will give knowledge of the person interviewed with familiarity of the process.

The investigator should plan systematic questions that could be asked in order to determine and obtain the information. The questions should allow explanations of why “no” or “yes”. The investigator should plan the order in which the questions are to be answered and leave room for explanation, description of an event, person or place of narration if the interviewee wishes to do so. Considering the intellectual level of interviewee, the investigator should ask questions intelligently in order to reach him effectively.

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Planning for Interrogation

During the interview, the basic facts of the case and the background of the person interrogated are combined with the information given by the witnesses in order to help determining the issues of interrogation and the approaches to be used. Planning all these facts ensures that no information is missed out during interrogation.

When the suspect is caught at the scene, the interrogator should tell the suspect his/her rights and one should ask for permission to interrogate the suspect on the spot. This has a psychological advantage, because the evidences are obtained at the spot and the suspect will feel secure because he/she is informed of their rights.

The suspect should be given time before being interrogated in order to gain confidence and communicate with accomplices. During the arresting, the investigator should not advise the suspect of his/ her rights until the suspect is searched for weapons to ensure that the suspect does not attack those arresting him/her.

When the suspect is not caught at the moment when the crime occurred but he/she is identified by the witness or victim, time should be given in order to collect all facts related to the case and the background of suspect for the preparation to be done well. This gives psychological advantages to the interrogator in terms of facts collected.

Appropriate time should be set aside so there is no rush and no limit. Interrogating room should accommodate one suspect at a time in order to avoid interruptions and distractions.

The interrogating room should be well lit with necessary facilities like recording machines, which are installed in time and does not require the interrogator changing tapes, or writing down what the suspect is saying. The room should be free from distractions such as phone or even clock noises. Weapons should not be present in the interrogating room and any sings of the consequences should be eliminated.

Planning for the Interview that Turns out to be an Interrogation

When the information given by the witness shows that he/she is the suspect, then the investigator may change the approach, so as to get the information and obtain a confession. The witness should be warned of his/her right for an attorney or the right to remain silent until asked to speak. The attorney should be present during interrogation.

The interrogation may be scheduled another time after the interview has been carried out to allow the suspect to gain composure and for the interrogator to gather enough facts about the case and the background of the suspect.

Aspects in Planning that Depends on the Subject Matter

Each subject matter has different aspects to consider when planning an interview or interrogation, which may range from age of those involved to the number of people involved. Also, whether both the victim and the suspect are present, for example in case of homicide, the victim is not present; while in kidnapping both the victim and the suspect may be present. Some cases may have witnesses and others may not have even one witness e.g. in case of rape.

Place of the crime is an aspect that should also be considered while planning an interview/interrogation, such as it might be in a cell after the suspect has been arrested or at the scene of crime before being arrested.

Age of the witness, victim or even suspect should be considered in order to decide whether to involve other people, for example children, and their rights should be considered to ensure that they are not psychologically tortured.

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Aspects Anticipated Prior to Conducting an Interrogation

Prior to conducting an interview or interrogation, several aspects should be considered which includes; the questions to be asked must be known in advance to avoid confusion, the people involved should be known in advance and should be informed, all the equipment that is required should be put in place and one should be familiarized with it. Finally, all the departments, such as security and human resources, involved in the interview or interrogation should be briefed about the process and what is required in order to make it successful.


In order to carry out a successful interview or interrogation, proper planning should be executed; this will save time and the resources that are used. Also, this will make sure that the evidences collected are reliable and will lead to the admission of justice. The time factor is very essential during the preparation and conducting of interviews/interrogations and it must be managed well by carrying out proper planning in order to achieve these objectives.

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