Most confessions made immediately after arrest: The British Psychological Society's conference in London
Thursday 16 December 1993
Dr Stephen Moston, a psychology lecturer, told the winter meeting of the British Psychological Society in London yesterday that the emphasis in police training on interviewing techniques was 'absolutely useless'. Dr Moston, of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, said that quite different influences determined whether a guilty suspect confessed.
In a study of 604 arrests made by police in Cumbria, Bedfordshire and London, he found that 82 per cent of suspects confessed when they had been interviewed informally between the arrest and arriving at the police station, compared to 56 per cent who had not had these conversations.
'Something is going on that influences their behaviour, some kind of rapport is being built. The discussions were often about bail or sentencing and usually it is the suspect who strikes up the conversation,' he said. Dr Moston said later that there was no implication that there had been any impropriety on the part of the police during the informal interviews, but the research had, for the first time, provided evidence of their importance.
Another study of 1,000 confessions from Metropolitan Police records showed that when confessions occurred they were early in the formal interview and that strong evidence was most likely to produce a confession. He said the more severe the offence, the more likely the suspect was to claim the right to silence, and that this likelihood was increased when a legal adviser was present.
'All this leads to a conclusion of how important it is to get decent evidence before police start the formal interview. The most important thing police can be taught is how to ask logically constructed questions in a non-aggressive way.'
Dr Moston said there were great dangers in movements towards videoing formal police interviews and downgrading the need for corroborative evidence. 'Police officers themselves are starting to tape these discussions before the suspects arrive at the station,' he said.
- 1 Three of Pope Francis' relatives die in Argentina car crash, including two young great-nephews
Syria conflict: President Assad finally turns on Isis as government steps up campaign against militant strongholds
Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness
Celebrity Big Brother 2014: Audley Harrison meets Kellie Maloney: 'Was Kellie really the best you could come up with?'
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
£30000 - £44000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Web deve...
£40000 - £65000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Senior A...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Web deve...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: ETL Deve...