ERI around the World: Australia

While electronic recording of interrogations gains momentum in the US in light of recent policy change in the Federal government and its decision to require electronic video and audio recordings of interrogations, the rest of the world maintains a wide variety of positions on the matter.

iRecord wants to share tidbits from what’s happening around the world when it comes to interrogation and capturing testimony and confessions.

Australia

Australia has been a leader in the English-speaking world for adopting policies that include electronically recording interviews. Though the Commonwealth did not create legislation from the beginning that required police officers to use recording to collect testimony and confessions, the New South Wales police force adopted a policy Electronic Recording of Interviews with Suspected Persons (ERISP) in 1991 that less than a decade later became a requirement for more serious crimes.

What’s interesting about the development of electronic recording of interviews in Australia is twofold. The first point of interest is that the popularity or the drive for the technology to be used in interviews came from the local police—not from legislators.

The second piece is the problem that the technology was purported to address—the issue of verballing. According to ____ the practice of verballing or “the fabrication of confessions or admissions” had been a concern as early as the 1940s. The number of credible complaints from the 40s through the 70s that were documented about unlawful and improper conduct when it came to detaining and questioning suspects led to the decay of public trust in both the police as well as the courts and criminal justice process.

What’s more, verballing led to extremely long court times and delays. In fact one study reports that “nearly 50% of the trial time in which witnesses were giving evidence was related to determining the admissibility or veracity of confessional evidence.”

By providing courts with an electronically recorded file a confession, the vast amount of public disagreement about what the defendants said verses what the police reported that they said were resolved. In fact, since ERISP has been implemented, almost all public debate and concern about this issue has dissipated.

To read more on the history and development of ERISP, click to read Videotaping Police Interrogation.

iRecord wants to help your police force shorted time to trial and trials as well with the best in electronic recording equipment today.

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