Police Interrogation Techniques

At the heart of every criminal investigation is the ability to effectively interview everyone involved, from witnesses to suspects. Law enforcement has perfected an arsenal of interview techniques designed to extract crucial information and verify the accuracy of statements. This article breaks down the various categories of questions used by investigators to build or dismantle a case.

Irrelevant Questions: More Useful Than They Appear

Though they might seem disconnected from the case at hand, irrelevant questions play a critical role in the structure of an interrogation. These questions are essential for several reasons:

  • Establishing Authority: They serve to establish a communication flow in which the agent asks and the suspect answers, reinforcing the interviewer’s authority dynamic.
  • Behavioral Assessment: They allow the interviewer to observe how the suspect reacts under pressure or in altered emotional states.
  • Emotional Connection: They facilitate the creation of a bond through common interests, which can soften resistance to more sensitive questions.

Examples of Irrelevant Questions

  1. What is your name?
  2. Where do you currently live?
  3. How old are you?
  4. Are you married or do you have children?
  5. What is your highest level of education?
  6. Have you ever served in the military?

Relevant Questions: Direct and Decisive

Relevant questions are designed to elicit concise and direct answers, generally with a simple yes or no. These questions should be specific and focused exclusively on the facts pertinent to the case.

Strategies for Relevant Questions

  • Single Focus: Each question should address only one aspect of the crime, avoiding confusions and ambiguous responses.
  • Clarity in Formulation: Questions must be clear and straightforward to prevent misunderstandings and obtain the most accurate information possible.

Examples of Directly Relevant Questions

  1. Did you participate in the mentioned crime?
  2. Were you the perpetrator of the investigated arson?
  3. Did you take money from the safe?
  4. Were you responsible for any acts of violence mentioned in the case?

Comparison Questions: A Dilemma for the Innocent

These questions are intended to create an internal conflict in the suspect, especially if they are innocent. By addressing minor behaviors that almost everyone has committed, these questions can make even an innocent person feel guilty.

Examples of Comparison Questions

  1. Have you ever lied to protect yourself?
  2. Have you ever taken something that did not belong to you at any point in your life?
  3. Have you ever intentionally caused harm to something or someone?


Expertise in interrogation is crucial for unraveling the truth in criminal investigations. With a strategic focus on the types of questions asked, investigators can obtain key information and discern between truth and falsehood, an essential step in the administration of justice.