Protecting human rights in Australian investigative interviews: The role of recording and interview duration limits

Diane Sivasubramaniam, Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Melissa Martin, Martin Fraser

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Abstract

The way in which interviewers balance human rights concerns in Australian investigative and intelligence interviews was examined by documenting common practices and beliefs reported by 139 seasoned practitioners (M = 16 years) employed in Australian police, military and intelligence organisations. An online survey gathered information about interviewers’ perceptions of recording practices, the duration of interviews and the number of times persons were interviewed for each matter. The majority of the participants (73%) were New South Wales Police Force interviewers. While results revealed some variability, interviewers reported that most interviews were conducted in two or three separate questioning sessions lasting approximately one hour each. Frequency analyses showed that interviewers favoured strategies protective of detainees’ human rights, such as video recording of interviews. Interviewers’ open-ended responses revealed that they supported recording because it yielded more accurate information, promoted procedural fairness and transparency in compliance with legal evidentiary requirements for admissibility in court, and protected interviewer integrity. Participants reported that video recording had the added advantage of preserving interviewees’ body language, tone of voice and other perceived indicators of credibility. The majority of interviews were reported to be within length requirements and recorded as required, indicating compliance with human rights concerns of suspects and non-suspects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-132
Number of pages26
JournalAustralian Journal of Human Rights
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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