How the Reid Technique Works

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The Reid Technique is used by police and government investigators, security and loss prevention experts. Before the interrogation, investigators conduct a behavioral analysis interview to identify signs of deception. The interrogation steps are:

A. Direct positive accusation:
>Confidently tell the subject the investigation indicates he/she is guilty;
>Assess subject’s verbal and nonverbal reaction to the accusation.

B. Theme development:
>Offer justifications for subjects’ complicity but don’t offer legal ones;
>Contrast inexcusable motives with more understandable reasons;
>Support themes with stories of suspects who made similar mistakes;
>Emphasize the need for cooperation with role reversals.

C. Handling denials:
>Talk over subjects and use gestures to cut off their interruptions;
>Consider that the subject may be innocent if the denials continue to be strong, sincere and voiced using realistic words.

Overcoming objections:
>Express agreement or understanding when subjects offer an objection or excuse as they couldn’t be involved;
>Explain positive implications if it is true;
>Explain negative implications if it is not true.

Attaining the subject’s attention:
>Subject is on the defensive and could become withdrawn;
>Move close to gain subjects’ attention and focus on your themes.

Handling subject’s passive mood:
>Subject begins to show signs of defeat or remorse;
>Shorten the themes and lead toward the alternative question.

Presenting the alternative question:
>Present two choices for subject’s involvement and contrast an acceptable sounding choice with an unacceptable one;
>Urge subjects to accept choice and stress the generally acceptable one.

Obtaining the verbal confession:
>Express understanding if subject chooses one of the alternatives;
>Encourage subject to talk about aspects of the crime;
>Avoid leading questions and get details from interviewee that only the guilty would know;
>Have a witness to the verbal admission.

Elements of the written confession:  Convert verbal confession to a written or typed form and establish subject volunteered it.

Source: John E. Reid & Associates.