Sep 10, 2019 in Interview

Learning Reflections on Interview Strategies


Law enforcement officers are supposed to use two complimentary approaches of interdiction and investigation. Endeavoring to detect the differences and similarities between law enforcement cultures of interdiction and investigation, one should take into account the role of interview strategies. The aim of this paper is to discuss the concepts connected with the cognitive interview and the rapport-based interview approaches.

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The Cognitive Interview

The cognitive interview (CI) is “a witness-centered approach with a transfer of control to the interviewee who has the sought-after information” (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010, p. 327). The concepts of the CI must be considered while surveying the cultures of interdiction and investigation because it is characterized by the reduced emotional pressure, which is reported to provide important details more effectively. For example, the interviewer is expected to construct open-ended questions, such as ‘tell me,’ ‘describe,’ ‘explain,’ which encourage a responder to provide complete and coherent information (College of Policing, 2013). As the result, the CI promotes an efficient rapport development.

The Rapport-Based Interview

The rapport-based interview presumes a relation-centered approach while a law enforcement office aims to construct the connection between the collected facts. This interview is based on “the current context and the background of the witness or subject” (Gelles, McFadden, Borum &Vossekuil, 2006, p. 31). Therefore, it is typical to use the Reid technique of interviewing that consists of “factual analysis, interviewing, and interrogation” (Anti-Cartel Enforcement Manual, 2008, p. 23). While being compared with a free manner of the cognitive interview, the concepts of the stricter rapport-based interview can be discussed and assessed as the contrast approach to interrogation.


Summing up the above-mentioned, it is appropriate to accentuate that there are different approaches to interviewing. The choice of interview strategy is stipulated by the uniqueness of each case. A law enforcement officer applies to the cognitive interview in order to achieve trustworthy and relaxed testimony. Meanwhile, the rapport-based interview suggests implementing the elements of mental pressure aiming to motivate the intractable interviewees to cooperate.

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