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:

    1. Direct positive accusation:
      • Confidently tell the subject the investigation indicates he/she is guilty;
      • Assess subject’s verbal and nonverbal reaction to the accusation.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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      • Subject is on the defensive and could become withdrawn;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.
    6. Handling subject’s passive mood:
      • Subject begins to show signs of defeat or remorse;
      • Shorten the themes and lead toward the alternative question.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Elements of the written confession: Convert verbal confession to a written or typed form and establish subject volunteered it.

Source: John E. Reid & Associates


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