In fact, you shouldn't even yell at prisoners. You should be a person they want to talk to.
This is very hard work.
The Alisons, husband and wife, have done something no scholars of interrogation have been able to do before. Working in close cooperation with the police, who allowed them access to more than 1,000 hours of tapes, they have observed and analysed hundreds of real-world interviews with terrorists suspected of serious crimes. No researcher in the world has ever laid hands on such a haul of data before. Based on this research, they have constructed the world’s first empirically grounded and comprehensive model of interrogation tactics.
The Alisons’ findings are changing the way law enforcement and security agencies approach the delicate and vital task of gathering human intelligence. “I get very little, if any, pushback from practitioners when I present the Alisons’ work,” said Kleinman, who now teaches interrogation tactics to military and police officers. “Even those who don’t have a clue about the scientific method, it just resonates with them.” The Alisons have done more than strengthen the hand of advocates of non-coercive interviewing: they have provided an unprecedentedly authoritative account of what works and what does not, rooted in a profound understanding of human relations. That they have been able to do so is testament to a joint preoccupation with police interviews that stretches back more than 20 years.
Pausing the Diola video, Emily Alison grimaced. “I call this one ‘the Hannibal Lecter interview’,” she said. “He wants a piece of the interviewer. When I watched this tape the first time I had to switch it off and walk away. I was so outraged, my heart was pounding in my chest. Of course, if you’re in the room, it’s 1,000 times worse.” Laurence Alison nodded. “As the interviewer, you’re bound to have an emotional response,” he said. “What you want to say is, ‘You’re the one in the fucking seat, not me. He’s trying to control you, so you try and control him. But then it escalates.”
The moment that an interrogation turns into an argument, it fails. “You need to remember what your purpose in that room is,” said Emily. “You’re seeking information. You’re not there to speak on behalf of the victims or the police. You might feel better for getting angry, but down that road is retribution. You become the inquisitioner. That’s not why you’re there. If you find yourself having a go at someone, ask yourself: ‘What am I achieving by this?’ Because they will stop talking to you.”
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