October 10, 2007

It's a fair cop, innit?

E-mailed by Liz at I Speak of Dreams, from the British Psychological Society's Research Digest Blog:

Just how good are police officers at detecting liars?

We had just sat through a presentation by a proponent of the Reid Technique, a potentially psychologically coercive method of persuading a suspect to confess, used widely in North America (although not in the UK). The North American police officers, in the majority at this international conference a couple of years ago, loved it. British police delegates and we psychologists shifted uncomfortably in our seats...

As Grits for Breakfast reminds us,

Juvenile Interrogation Tactics Ignore Developmental Vulnerabilities

Another significant criticism of the Reid Technique is that juvenile suspects (as well as those who are mentally retarded or mentally ill) are especially vulnerable to deceptive and psychologically coercive interrogation techniques now standard because they are more compliant and suggestible. There is significant research to show that juveniles are more susceptible to false confessions, but Reid training does not address the relevant differences between kids and adults, and indicates that their standard methods are appropriate for juveniles...