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Why Every Investigator Should be Familiar with the PEACE Method

Why Every Investigator Should be Familiar with the PEACE Method

A non-accusatory style of investigative interviewing makes it easier to elicit information from interview subjects.

There are many styles of investigative interviewing and as many theories about which approaches are best, but there has been a significant push in recent years toward using methods that are less confrontational and more conversational. Perhaps this trend reflects the closer attention being paid to ethics during investigations in light of news stories in which investigators have been called out for bullying and using intimidation tactics to elicit confessions from fearful interview subjects.

The plethora of false confessions reported in the media have also cast the spotlight on some interrogation techniques that are unethical at best, and possibly illegal. Lying to interview subjects, intimidating them, threatening them with discipline or even jail time, have all been used as tactics in the past to force a confession out of a (sometimes innocent) subject. So it's not surprising that a gentler, more conversational style of interviewing is gaining favor in the investigations community worldwide.

The PEACE Method

In the PEACE Method of investigative interviewing being used extensively by law enforcement in the UK, investigators rely on rapport-building and mutual trust to elicit the information they need. It has been shown to be successful in a wide variety of case types and to reduce the number of false confessions (and probably lawsuits).

Jonathan Davison, Managing Director of Forensic Interview Solutions (FIS) outlines some best practices for investigation interviews and talks about the advantages of this gentler, more ethical, method of interviewing.