Investigative interviewing in Chernihiv

October 23, 2015

There are small things that make a big difference in the outreach activities of the European Union Advisory Mission’s: One of them was an event chaired by EUAM expert Peter Wilson for the regional police in Chernihiv. The event was an advisory session on “Investigative Interviewing” of suspects for amongst others the head of the unit for Abuse of Duties Roman Matviychuk.

Mr. Wilson introduced the “PEACE” model which builds on the assumption that a relaxed and confident person with whom the interviewer has a rapport, is more likely to cooperate and be truthful. The PEACE (Preparation and Planning, Engage and Explain, Account, Clarify and Challenge, Closure, and Evaluation) concept is a non-accusatory, information gathering approach to investigative interviewing. It was conceived in the 90s also as a way to avoid false confessions that were resulting from an accusatory style of interviewing. Mr. Wilson also stressed in the discussion the importance of non-verbal communication.

“If offenders believe they have been treated well”, Mr. Wilson explained, “they are less likely to form a negative view of investigators or to communicate a negative view of them to others”. And equally important, he said: “Using unfair means to get a confession is never justified”. Both issues are addressing questions of credibility, especially in a country whose law enforcement agencies are working to restore people’s confidence. 

The Ukrainian participants showed high levels of professionalism, although they never had received any formal training on investigative interviewing techniques. They were open to share, and ready and qualified to spread the new concept and skills, the EUAM experts assessed at the end of the working session.