Reid Technique Police Interrogation Method

November 19,2019


Reid Technique Police Interrogation Method

Reid Technique is the methodology used to question suspects. It is used in criminal interrogation and for confessions. The Reid technique includes 9 techniques which are used to guide the interrogation process by professionals. There is no such standard format or method for criminal or suspect interrogation. This is a technique which guides you throughout the process. This involves the following 9 steps


The interrogator or the professional involved in the activity presents the case or incidents putting all the shreds of evidence against the suspect.  The interrogator lays the story in such a way that the suspect is the culprit for sure.  This will give more and more stress to the suspect.  The person who questions usually keeps away from the suspect and keeps moving in the room.  This is because the personal space of the suspect increases and thus results in more stress.  If the suspect responds to this in a nervous manner by either fidgeting or showing some signs of discomfort, he interrogator shall take this as a clue of being right.

2:Developing the theme

 In this stage, the interrogator turns to the story of the happening of the crime. The reasons for which the suspects did the same.   The interrogator will tell this in s story manner. This will in the tone of justification for the crime committed. If on the right track, they will be listening carefully than before and showing gestures of agreement on what is said by the interrogator.  If this does not happen, the suspect will deny the same and come out with the actual story, at least for the sake of denial of the one said by the interrogator.

 During this part of the interrogation, the interrogator will be behaving in a very mild tone. This will be a relaxation for the suspect. The suspect should feel comfortable to speak out.  They should feel a sort of security to open up about the incident. However, the sense of security is just a false one to bring out the truth.

3:Do not allow denials

The suspect should not be allowed to deny the crime at any cost. If they are able to deny it at no reason, this will increase the confidence of the suspect.  Once if the suspect tries to deny the crime, the interrogator will interrupt in the same and deny it somehow.  From the very beginning of the process of interrogation itself, the interrogator will keep interrupting and not allowing the same and thus reducing the confidence of the suspect.  By blocking any chance of denial by the suspect, you are also blocking the chance for the suspect to ask for a lawyer. In case if the suspect does not show any denial of the theme narrated by the interrogator, we shall take it as a clue of guilt which the suspect feels.  If there is a decline in the denial the interrogator can conclude that they are nearing the confessing.

4:Taking control over the objections

The suspect might be giving some sort of object about the happening. The wisdom of the interrogator lies in taking this towards the acceptance of the happening by the suspect.  Take for example the suspect might say ‘I will not kill anyone, because I know how painful it is to lose life and lose someone in life. So I would never do that at all.”

The interrogator should take this in a different manner telling that “So, you as a person, with this nature of yours can never harm or kill anyone. So this is a onetime mistake that you did. This was something out of your control right? That was not a planned one.” The interrogator should be wise enough to twist it out like this and bring out the positive factor from the objection as well.

5:Getting the complete attention of the Suspect 

Once you are done with the aforementioned four steps of interrogation, the suspect might have now ended up in a confused state.  They only thing they urge for will be a way to escape. The interrogator should utilize this time to create a rapport with the suspect. The suspect will consider the interrogator as an ally or the interrogator intentionally acts as an ally to the suspect.  The interrogator will carry on with their work of developing the theme.  They will get closer to the suspect even physically either by patting on the back or holding the hands. The suspect will find it difficult to get away from this situation.

6:Suspect loses resolve

This is the stage when the suspect feels that there is no way to escape. Here the suspect must be finding a different reason to commit the crime.  Here they will be forced to choose a reason for which they did the crime.  They will be too stressed and mostly will be fidgeting or keeping elbows on the knees etc.  The interrogator will have a strong eye-contact with the suspect. This will also lose their urge to escape from the issue somehow. There is considerable chance for the suspect to cry or lose control. However, the interrogator shall just take it as a sign of guilt.

7:Giving alternative motives 

In this stage, the interrogator put before the suspect two reasons for committing the crime.  Usually, they begin with a mild motive so that the suspect does not get threatened with this.  Maybe putting before him some socially acceptable reason.  Later there will be a change in the tone of the motive. This will become more repulsive and put the interrogator into a dilemma.   At this stage, the suspect will have to choose between the two some way.  The acceptance will be a very small sign; maybe a nod of the head or some signs of agreement of doing the crime. The interrogator will soon reach a conclusion.

8:The conversation with the suspect

The confession happens or begins once the suspect chooses between one of the alternatives.  Here the interrogator motivated the suspect to open and explain the whole thing.  During this time, one more interrogator will be joining. This is to increase the stress level of the suspect. This will add pressure on the suspect to finally give up and tell the truth.  Here they will also stress on the socially acceptable part of the crime to make sure that the confession is done for sure and with no confusion.

9:The confession

 This is the final stage in the interrogation process. Here the confession is done by the suspect.  Here the interrogators will have to record the truthful happening as the evidence.  They are recorded and documented in the form of audios or videos.  Later, these are transcripted and recorded. Other methods of confession are also used. They include taking the suspect to the place of the happening and asking them to enact the same. They might be asked to write an apology for the crime committed, or narrate the happen to some third party. They might also be asked to draw the sketches of the scene or map of the place.  It is very important to note down the vital and key factors of the crime like the property involved and other things.  These will be known only to the offenders and the investigators.

Interrogators use some of these steps while investigating crimes.  But they do not follow the theory as such. Interrogators use this theory but in their own way.

As such, there is no wide acceptance for Reid Technique. Many critics have acted against it and the technique has been completely banned in some European countries. The critics argue that the Reid Technique is not at all apt among the youth because they result in a wrongful conviction.  They are also claimed to often forceful and manipulative. They claim that it is too prone to false confessions. American and Canadian courts use this but in a very careful manner in the confession part.  In the Reid technique of confession, there is no chance for the suspect to escape or simply not be the offender. With the use of this technique, the suspect is the offender at any cost. It takes a prejudiced approach.  Thus, there are also arguments around the world that the Reid Technique is not the right interrogation technique.

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