Showing posts with label Interviewing Suspects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interviewing Suspects. Show all posts

Friday, November 29, 2019

Forensic Statement Analysis and Advanced Interviewing

Businesses and individuals who receive anonymous threatening letters

Statement Analysis is the process of examining a person's words to determine if he or she is being truthful or deceptive.

Words reveal us. People always phrase their statements based on their knowledge and life experiences. Our words reveal our background, including our sex, race, and intelligence. Our words reveal our life experiences, including trauma and professional experiences. Our words reveal our basic personality type. The personality type can tell the investigator: how to conduct the interview and how to assess the threat.

When a Subject writes a statement, he or she provides more information than they realize. A person's statement will often contain information they did not intend to share. The key to detecting deception is to know what to look for in a person's statement.

Statement Analysis is the most accurate way of detecting deception. When a person uses nonverbal communication, you have to read or interpret their body language. This means there is always the chance of misinterpreting. With our Advanced Statemment Analysis and Interviewing techniques, there is no interpreting or guess work.

To ensure complete accuracy, the team at Brian Blackwell adheres to a well established principle of having Analysis work checked by other professionals. In the "truth" business, there is no room for ego. Those who are the best and brightest investigators and analysts share a common humility that leads them to seek second and third opinions as a matter of routine. The "lone wolf " analyst would raise suspicion of accuracy and mistrust. The true professional analyst also submits to the discipline of principle and repetition.

Once the analyst locates deception, eliminating the portion(s) that were found to be unreliable or not relevant, the analyst then begins to complete a psychological profile. During an interview, the investigator/analyst bases questions on the personality of the Subject, using their own words, and focuses the time frame at the most critical moments. This is where the confession is found.

As deception, corruption, and self-interest becomes more and more acceptable and popular, often stated as the "moral high ground," and institutionalized envy condemns success and authority more and more, the need for Statement Analysis is imperative. Courts have shown prejudice against companies, and the political elite have shown contempt for authority.

Statement Analysis can be an effective investigative tool in criminal investigations and help solve sexual assault cases, theft cases, and uncover false allegations.


Forensic Statement Analysis
Advanced Interviewing Techniques
Background Investigations
Fraud Detection
Criminal Investigations
Business/Organization Internal Investigations
Security Screening

The team at Brian Blackwell can help in determining the author of an anonymous threating letter. Brian Blackwell consults with analysts across the nation to identify the author of the anonymous threatening letter. All work is confidential.

If the author of the threatening letter you received hasn't been identified by law enforcement, contact Brian Blackwell. We can identify the writer of the letter. The results can be shared with law enforcement and used in the arrest and prosecution of the author.

Statement Analysis can protect you from extortion, and assessing the level of threat can help in precaution and protective measures.

The team at Brian Blackwell has correctly identified anonymous authors for businesses and individuals through its Advanced Forensic Statement Analysis and Interviewing techniques.

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Trusted Professionals

Brian Blackwell Seattle Company 
1201 N. Orange Street # 700
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
info @
(855) 486-5739

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Interviewing Suspects

Successful Interrogation Techniques

The successful interrogation of a suspect is mostly about psychology and quick thinking. You shouldn't try to interrogate anyone if you lose your nerve or have a prejudice as to the innocence of the person. Be calm and try to find the truth, not to prove you're right in your suspicions.

Criminal investigators interview suspects in order to establish guilt and apprehend criminals involved in all sorts of crimes. Investigators use many different interviewing techniques to establish the guilty party, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. The use of these techniques depends on the type of crime, the age and gender of the suspect and other factors. Good investigators know how to assess the situation and use the most effective technique to achieve their goals. 

Narrative Technique

This technique is quite straight-forward and is used in a variety of different interviewing situations by investigators around the world. The technique involves letting the suspect tell his side of the story without any interruption from the interviewers. The suspect may be asked to repeat the story as many as three or four times in order to establish consistency, or lack thereof, in the story. The investigator may listen to the story, verify facts or inconsistencies and then re-interrogate the suspect. 

Reid Technique

The Reid Technique is often criticized for convincing innocent suspects to admit crimes of which they are not guilty, but it is generally seen as an effective investigatory model. The technique involves a non-accusatory interview followed by carefully phrased behavior-provoking questions. The interviewer approaches the suspect in a non-confrontational, understanding way in order to make the suspect feel comfortable to the point that they acknowledge and admit the crime. A series of nine steps known as the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation are used to bring the suspect to confess the crime. The focus of the Reid Technique, a registered trademark of the law firm John Reid and Associates, is on eliminating innocent suspects. 

Bluff Technique

The bluff technique is an effective way of scaring guilty suspects into admitting the crime. The interviewer tells the suspect that there is unequivocal evidence of guilt, that, for example, a reliable witness saw them commit the crime or that his or her fingerprints have been found on the murder weapon, even though this information is unsubstantiated. This tactic essentially scares the suspect into admitting his or her guilt. In essence the interviewer approaches the suspect by saying "we know what you did, now just admit it," and the suspect cracks. If the suspect is innocent, he will maintain his disbelief at the given facts.

Steps To A Successful Interview / Interrogation:

1. Start the interview with a light conversation during which you will be able to establish the character of the questioned person. This may involve their occupation, musical preferences, family, etc. During this preliminary conversation, look for signs that the person is nervous and scared, prone to bragging, confident or not. Mark their level of intelligence and adapt to it.

2. Abruptly switch to the subject of the questioning. Be sure to notice the interviewed person's reaction. Remember that in 9 out of 10 cases the first impressions are the most correct.

3. Let the interrogated person tell you their story without interrupting them. Look for inconsistencies. Being too detailed often shows the person has prepared themselves for questioning and has had the time to make their story up.

4. Have another person enter the room shortly after the interviewed person has finished their story. Your associate must pretend to say something in your ear. Give the interviewed person a short look and excuse yourself.

5. Return in about 15 minutes. At this time, the suspect should be worried as to what has happened during your absence.

6. Take a few seconds during which you rearrange things on the table/desk, sit quietly, or scribble something on a scrap of paper. Then proceed to ask the suspect about the inconsistent points in their story.

7. Ask for details. Some questions, like the color of a hit-and-run vehicle are easy to answer and the suspect saying they do not remember is an obvious attempt to conceal something. Likewise, it would be unusual in most instances for the interrogated person to have seen or remember the license plate number, so answering this question would show them having thought the whole thing over.

8. Combine real questioning with irrelevant questions, leading the suspect into believing you have something on your mind.

9. Look for signs the suspect is lying. These may include crossing their hands (defensive position), sitting on the edge of the chair, too relaxed posture, tilting their head to one side, looking up as they think of the answer.

10. Frequent use of expletives like "honestly", frankly, etc. shows that the suspect is lying. People who believe in what they say do not appeal to the listener's trust.

11. Ask the suspect a question, the answer to which you already know. This way you can see whether they're willing to correctly answer your questions.

12. Be careful about the details. Avoid mentioning details about the crime. Try to get the suspect to tell you something about the crime scene that isn't public knowledge and only the perpetrator would know. Get them to give details away that reveals them as the person who committed the crime.

13. Remember that most people lie when questioned. But it doesn't mean they're a criminal. 

Tips and Important Facts
  • Be calm. A show of aggressiveness will only make your suspect refuse to talk to you.
  • When you find a major inconsistency in the suspect's story, don't be too quick to point it out. Let them build the rest of their story on a false premise.
  • A person looking down while thinking of the answer shows they're trying to remember, whereas looking up means they're just making it up at the moment.
  • Answering a question too soon means the suspect has made the story up. If they are telling you the truth, it should take some time for them to remember the details.

Brian Blackwell Investigations | Seattle, WA

Monday, June 9, 2014

Private Investigator Basics: Interviewing

Investigators interview plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, victims, suspects, subjects of background investigations and experts.

What Is Interviewing?

Interviewing is the process of gathering facts from people that can then become testimonial evidence.

Types Of Investigations That Require Interviews
Theft, missing persons, background investigations, situations where an expert could be of assistance.

Why Conduct Interviews?
Interviews are conducted to reconstruct a crime or event, to obtain evidence, to look for leads, to identify facts and to find out what actually happened.

Preparing For An Interview

Preparation is the key to conducting a quality interview. An investigative approach for interviewing begins with a prioritized list of witnesses to interview with the major witnesses at the top. A private investigator has to know as much as possible about the statement the witness has given to the authorities and has to know the facts of the case.

Research The Interview Subject
Private investigators must conduct extensive records research and a background check on the interview subject before going to speak with them. Investigators should know basic background information about the witness, like if the witness is related to any of the participants in the event, if the witness wears glasses and if he or she has a criminal record.

Anticipate The Subject’s Needs
Depending on the case, interview subjects will have differing needs. In criminal defense cases people that are witnesses to crimes might fear retaliation or retribution if they step forward. They may fear going against the police. People that are friends or relatives of the crime victim are not going to want to talk to anyone from the defense. Private investigators have to be psychologically prepared for the difficulties of talking to these people and especially for talking to the crime victims themselves. They may be angry and private investigators have to calm them down and get them to share what they are going to say in court or at least to elaborate on what they told the police.

Document The Interview
Notes should always be taken either during or immediately after an interview. Notes can be taken by hand, on an audio recording device or, if the interview subject is willing, on video. A private investigator must build rapport and make the subject feel comfortable enough to allow them to take notes. If the subject gives a very helpful statement that is exculpatory, a private investigator should ask to audio or video record the statement.

What Every Investigator Should Know About Interviewing

Setting Up The Interview
If possible, a private investigator should schedule interviews ahead of time with cooperating witnesses. If not, the investigator should make a cold call visit with interview subjects.

Engage In Active Listening
Private investigators should operate on the 80/20 rule. Interview subjects should be speaking 80% of the time and interviewers should be speaking 20% of the time. Active listening is an important aspect of interviewing as it encourages the flow of information as the interview subject is talking. Private investigators conducting interviews should confirm that they are listening by summarizing back what the interview subject has said.

Build Rapport
Private investigators have to build rapport with interview subjects to earn their trust and get them to open up. This can be accomplished through participating in small talk. Investigators should look for some common ground with the interview subject and start a conversation from there. The key is for the investigator to be able to establish an open communication channel, get some information and leave the door open for a follow-up interview.

Recognize Truth v. Deception
Private investigators should begin interviews with closed questions and slowly shift to open questions which require some more thought. Investigators should start off with basic questions about the subject’s background to which they already know the answers. While the interview subject is answering these questions, private investigators have to watch how they look while giving truthful answers. Later on, when the investigator gets to the meat of the questioning, he or she can recognize constant truthful behavior or a shift in behavior signified by vocal volume, pitch, halted speech, furtive facial gestures or micro-expressions.

Interpreting Non-Verbal Communication
Focusing on these behaviors comes with experience. As a rule of interviewing, innocent people can be calmed down and guilty people generally get very nervous. They begin to display verbal cues discussed above. The interview subject that is guilty or that is lying will also display non-verbal cues like clenching fists, a reddening face, bulging veins and a loss of eye contact.

After An Interview

Finalizing Notes
Private investigators must preserve their interviews by finalizing their notes or transcribing an audio or video recording so that it becomes part of the record. Investigators will then memorialize their notes in a report that includes when the interview occurred, how long it lasted, who was present and where it occurred. The report should describe what information was obtained. If it is an audio or video recording, the information should be documented verbatim, and all notes should be kept until the matter is fully adjudicated as discoverable records.

Follow-Up Interviews
Follow-up interviews are sometimes necessary. If the witness did not give enough information initially, a private investigator would have to return to their home or place of work and continue building rapport until the witness was willing to speak truthfully. When information needs to be memorialized, a private investigator should type up a narrative of the interview and conduct a follow-up. The interview subject should read the narrative, make corrections and sign off on the interview. If an investigator has found an inconsistency between the stories of two different interview subjects, it is a good idea to return to both of these subjects and conduct second interviews. If a private investigator needs further documentary evidence, such as telephone records, that were not available during the first interview, they should follow up with a subject and obtain these records.

New Leads
Subjects may give a private investigator information that leads to a new interview subject that was not initially included in the investigative plan. Whenever an investigator receives a new lead on a possible interview subject they should always follow up on the lead by conducting background research, contacting the new subject and scheduling and completing an interview. Private investigators should follow the same steps when preparing for, conducting and finalizing a follow-up interview as they would for the initial interview.


Interviewing is vital to many investigations because it gives a verbal confirmation of an event. In cases where a one time occurrence is being investigated, interview subjects are often the only people who saw what actually happened. This type of information is called testimonial evidence and can be invaluable in court, especially when combined with documentary evidence found during records research.

Brian Blackwell Investigations | Seattle, WA