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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77809 Find in a Library
Title: Feasibility of an Experiment in the Tape-recording of Police Interrogations
Corporate Author: Great Britain Home Office
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 39
Sponsoring Agency: Great Britain Home Office
London, SW1H 9AT, England
Pendragon House
Mystic, CT 06355
Sale Source: Pendragon House
185 Willow Street
P.O. Box 424
Mystic, CT 06355
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This 1976 British report discusses the feasibility of an experiment to tape record police interrogation.
Abstract: One argument in favor of tape recording police interrogations is that a tape recording gives the precise words used in the interrogation, as well as inflections and tone of voice, which makes it of more assistance than a written record. Other arguments are that tape recording would deter, if not prevent, the use of unfair questioning practices by police and that tape recording would provide a means of resolving disputes about what took place during an interview. An argument against tape recording is that criminal investigations might be hampered if interrogations were tape recorded, because a suspect would avoid making admissions or implicating other persons involved in criminal activities. Another argument is that if the use of tape recorders became standard, evidence of an interrogation which was not tape recorded might be regarded as inferior and of less value, even though recording it might have been impracticable. It is also argued that the use of tape recorders might lead to 'trials within trials.' The report identifies problems to be overcome before any system of tape recording police interrogations could be introduced, including questions about the scope of any tape recording and the preparation of transcripts of what was said on the tapes. A feasible experiment for tape recording is delineated and approaches to take in evaluating such an endeavor are suggested. Appendixes present police questioning procedures, challenges to police evidence, costs of an experiment, and other related information.
Index Term(s): Evidence collection; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Interview and interrogation; Tape recordings
Note: Report of a committee appointed by the Home Secretary.
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