Interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects

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Conducting timely interviews with victims or witnesses, particularly with those who are shielded, self-isolating or otherwise concerned about the transmission of coronavirus.

First published
Written by College of Policing
COVID-19
10 mins read

Options for interviews

Investigation is a core duty of policing and interviewing is central to its success, by upholding the highest standards.

Without the accounts of those who played a central role in the crime, or those who have witnessed an important aspect of the commission of a crime, other sources of material such as CCTV images, fingerprints and forensic material, although extremely important, may have little value.

We have produced some resources to provide advice on alternative options that may facilitate initial accounts and support delayed interviews.

Self administered interviews (SAIs)

The use of an SAI may allow a witness to make a written initial account, allowing the formal interview to be delayed. The evidence suggests an SAI will support later recall when/if an evidential statement is required. 

An SAI is not an evidential statement, and will not be appropriate for all witnesses or in all circumstances. 

Guidance on SIAs can be found in the related resources section on this page.

Telephone interviews

Where an SAI is not appropriate, consider a telephone interview using the Structured Interview Protocol (SIP). This supports front line officers in getting information from witnesses via simple and effective evidence-based guidelines. 

Guidance on SIPs can be found in the related resources section on this page.

Investigative interviewing skills

The Authorised Professional Practice (APP) section details the principles, structure and considerations for high quality interviewing to help develop and maintain the valuable resource of a skilled interviewer