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Japanese police officers’ feelings and beliefs about interrogation. Taeko Wachi , Kaeko Yokota, Yusuke Otsuka , Hiroki Kraishi , Kazumi Watanabe, & Michael E. Lamb National Research Institute of Police Science, Japan University of Cambridge.

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japanese police officers feelings and beliefs about interrogation

Japanese police officers’ feelings and beliefs about interrogation

TaekoWachi, Kaeko Yokota, Yusuke Otsuka, Hiroki Kraishi, Kazumi Watanabe, & Michael E. Lamb

National Research Institute of Police Science, Japan

University of Cambridge

previous studies in western countries interviewing styles and confessions
Previous studies in Western countries: Interviewing styles and confessions
  • Humanitarian techniques are more likely to lead to confession rather than dominant techniques.
    • Holmberg & Christianson (2002)
      • 83prisoners(murderers and sexual offenders)in Sweden
      • Self-reported questionnaires
    • Kebbell, Alison & Hurren (2008)
      • 43 prisoners (sexual offenders)in Australia
      • Experiments using fictional cases
interviewing styles and offenders psychological well being
Interviewing styles and offenders’ psychological well-being
  • Holmberg, Christianson & Wexler (2007)
      • ‘Sense of Coherence’ scales were used to examine the offenders’ psychological well-being.
    • Interviewing styles and confessions are related to the offenders’ psychological well-being.
      • Offenders who felt respected during the interview showed higher SOC than those who did not feel respected.
      • Offenders who had admitted their crimes showed higher SOC than deniers.
the purpose of the current study
The purpose of the current study
  • This presentation has two aims:
    • To describe the interviewing techniques used in Japan
    • To investigate the relationship between the following variables;
      • Interviewing styles and confessions
      • The interrogators’ and suspects’ feelings after the interrogation
the characteristics of the japanese legal system
The characteristics of the Japanese legal system
  • A maximum of 23 days from arrest to the institution of prosecution
  • Corroborating evidence is required.
  • Recording police interviews (suspects, victim and witnesses) are not allowed.
    • Recording the parts of interviews by prosecutors has been introduced.
methods participants
Methods: Participants
  • Police officers who interviewed suspects between January and September 2008
  • The characteristics of the suspects
    • Adults
    • Those who had committed murder, robbery, arson,rape, kidnapping or forced indecency
    • Those who had initiallydenied and then confessed (either partially or fully)
    • Those who were not mentally retarded or mentally ill.
methods participants1
Methods: Participants
  • 276 police officers across Japan
    • Gender: Male 271, female 5
    • Age: M=40.5 (SD=8.7),median38.5
    • Years of investigative experience:


    • Rank: Constables 27, Sergeants 132,

Inspectors 115, Chief inspectors 2

methods material and procedure
Methods: Material and Procedure
  • Self-reported questionnaireswere administered:
    • Interviewing techniques
    • Confession types (partial or full)
    • Investigators’ feeling after the interrogation
    • (Perceived) Suspects’ feelings after the interrogation
methods analysis
Methods: Analysis
  • Interviewing styles
    • Factor analysis(MLmethod, promaxrotation) for interviewing techniques
    • Anon-hierarchical cluster analysis (K-means)for classifying the interviewing styles
  • Interviewing styles and feelings
    • 2 × 4 ANOVAs (full or partial confession ×four types of interview styles) were conducted to examine the relationships between the interviewing styles and feelings of police officers / suspects
results interviewing styles
Results: Interviewing styles
  • Fivefactors were obtained.
    • Presentation of evidence
    • Confrontation
    • Active listening
    • Rapport building
    • Discussion of crime
results examples of items
Results: Examples of items
  • Presentation of Evidence : 4 items
    • Implying that there was evidence of guilt
    • Confronting the suspect with actual evidence
  • Confrontation: 5 items
    • Expressing impatience and anger towards the suspect
    • Raising your voice during the interrogation
results examples of items1
Results: Examples of items
  • Active listening : 6 items
    • Listening to the suspect’s life story, such as personal history
    • Listening to the suspect’s stories about his/ her significant others (e.g. parents, spouse, children)
  • Rapport building : 7 items
    • Attempting to build a good relationship with the suspect
    • Treating the suspect in a friendly manner
results examples of items2
Results: Examples of items
  • Discussion of the crime: 4 items
    • Attempting to persuade the suspect to think about the meaning of the crime committed
    • Appealing to the conscience of the suspect
results interviewing styles1
Results: Interviewing styles
  • Based on the five factors, four interviewing styles were identified.
    • Evidence focused approach
    • Confrontational approach
    • Relationship focused approach
    • Undifferentiated approach
result interviewing style
Result: Interviewing style
  • Evidence focused approach
    • The highest score on Presentation of Evidence factor
    • The second highest scores on Active Listening and Confrontation factors
      • Listen to the suspects’ account closely, show evidence and sometimes confront the suspect with the evidence?
  • Confrontational approach
    • The highest score on Confrontation factor
    • The second highest score on the Discussion of the crime factor
      • Confront the suspects not about inconsistencies between evidence and suspects’ accounts but by discussing their criminal offences and victims?
result interviewing style1
Result: Interviewingstyle
  • Relationship focused approach
    • The highest scores on Active Listening, Rapport Building, and Discussion of the crime factors
      • Listen to the suspects’ stories very attentively, attempt to build a good relationship, and discuss the crime and victims to make the suspects think about them
  • Undifferentiated approach
    • The lowest scores on the five factors
      • Less likelyto employ specific interviewing techniques
result information
Result: Information
  • One item: The suspect was willing to provide information unknown to the police
    • Main effects for confession type (F (1, 256) = 19.01, p < .001) and interviewing style F (3, 256) = 3.17, p = .003).
result sympathy
  • Three items: I experienced the same feelings as the suspect did./ I felt affection for the suspect. / I felt sorry for the suspect.
    • Main effect for use of interviewing style, F (3, 259) = 3.19,

p = .02.

result suspects satisfaction
Result: Suspects’ satisfaction
  • Four items: The suspect appeared to experience a sense of relief./The suspect appeared to be pleased that he/she had confessed
    • Main effects for confession type (F (1, 256) = 39.04, p < .001) and interviewing style F (3, 256) = 5.06, p = .002).
result suspects remorse
Result: Suspects’ remorse
  • Oneitem: The suspect appeared to regret having committed a crime.
    • Main effects for confession type (F (1, 256) = 20.98, p < .001) and interviewing style F (3, 256) = 4.36, p = .005).
  • Four types of interviewing styles were identified.
  • Police officers who employed the relationship focused approach were more likely
    • to sympathize with the suspects
    • to believe that the suspects disclosed information
    • to believe that the suspects were satisfied with their confessions and remorseful about their crimes
  • All ratings were provided by the police officers.
    • These are the police officers’ perspectives.
  • Studies examining the offenders’ opinions are needed.
    • I will survey prisoners about their feelings after being interrogated.
  • Holmberg, U. and S.-A. Christianson (2002). "Murders’ and sexual offenders’ experiences of police interviews and their inclination to admit and deny crimes." Behavioral Sciences and the Law,20: 31-45.
  • Holmberg, U., Christianson, S. Å., & Wexler, D. (2007). Interviewing offenders: A therapeutic jurisprudential approach. In S. Å. Christianson (Ed.), Offender's memories of violent crimes (pp. 355-371). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Kebbell, M., L. Alison, et al. (2008). "Sex offenders' perceptions of the effectiveness and fairness of humanity, dominance, and displaying an understanding of cognitive distortions in police interviews: A vignette study." Psychology Crime & Law14(5): 435-449.
thank you very much for your listening

Thank you very much for your listening

Contact: wachi@nrips.go.jp