Interviewing and Investigation by Kerry Watkins

Tim Moore
June 28, 2017
By Tim Moore
Interviewing and Investigation, Third Edition by Kerry Watkins; 2017; 252 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77255-064-1

The first time I read a description of the Reid technique of criminal interrogations, I was troubled by the false premises behind it.

Because these methods were (and still are) fairly well entrenched, I despaired of seeing any advance or improvements in police interviewing methods in the near future. I was wrong. Change is not only possible, it is happening at a rate that I would never have predicted.

Watkins et al.’s Interviewing and Investigation, 3rd Edition (2017) is a major contributor to this progress. I use superlatives sparingly. That said, this is a very good book. The writing is engaging, with effective use of case examples. Two of the authors have decades of policing experience; the third has conducted extensive applied research in forensic psychology.

The result is a book that provides practical recommendations contextualized with recent case law and evidence-based investigative principles. Among the topics that receive a thorough and balanced treatment are: the confessions rule and the challenge of how voluntariness should be determined; the role of tunnel vision and confirmation bias in nudging an investigation off the rails; and an explicit acknowledgment of the dangers of (and alternatives to) coercive interrogations. The dedication says this book is for “those who recognize the need to combine the art of investigative work with the rigour of science."

The authors have recognized this need and done an excellent job of combining science with practice.

— Tim Moore, York University

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