Best approach for complainant and witness interviews
Some of the most difficult investigations to conduct are the ‘he-said, she-said’ types of allegations where there is no evidence to support either side of the story. Questions often come up regarding these investigations and the most effective way to approach interviewing those involved in the allegation. Often, the best approach is the Cognitive Interview and it’s important to understand how it differs from a standard fact-gathering interview.
The Cognitive Interview is designed to increase memory retrieval, and thus the amount of accurate information you’re able to obtain from your interviewee.
While it possesses similar principles to the standard fact-gathering interview, there are two primary differences.
First, the introduction phase in the Cognitive Interview is much more robust than normal with a heavy focus on the value of rapport. During this process you also introduce four memory retrieval rules and expectations during the interview process.
The second difference is related to advanced-type questioning which explores and adds clarity to the narrative by changing perspective and utilizing various other memory retrieval techniques such as encouraging the use of diagrams during the interview process.
Understanding the elements of the Cognitive Interview can be a great resource for any investigation, particularly ones that rely heavily on the amount of information you can gather from your interviewee.