Gathering interview evidence outside of a formal interview room always has its challenges. Recently, though, with the public safety guidelines surrounding the novel coronavirus, agencies may need to revise their process. In the coming weeks and maybe even months, it will be prudent to review new practices regarding remote interview evidence recording.
Stay on the Case: Remote Interview Evidence Recording
While some agencies have already adopted robust mobile interview recording solutions, not every team will have access to a system that is secure enough to meet their needs. Whether the interviews can take place in-person and safely with the social distancing protocols, or the evidence needs to be recorded remotely through another system, there are a few best practices to help ensure the information gathered will be court-admissible.
First, it will be important to consider the audio quality of interview recordings made outside of an agency’s designated interview room. As such, it may be helpful to lay a few ground rules. While it should always be understood that parties “speaking over” each other is an issue for interview evidence, this could prove to be even more problematic for remote recordings that aren’t using a professional microphone setup.
Additionally, agencies will need to ensure that their interview subjects have convenient access to legal counsel, if necessary. How agencies work within their own facility will be quite different than how they need to function remotely. Informing all parties of the new expectations and procedures will help these interviews go smoothly.
Remote Investigations and Privacy
After the practical details are addressed, it’s time to weigh the privacy risks associated with remote interview evidence recording. Speaking with an individual at the agency already lends itself to privacy because no one else is present in the formal interview room. But when interviews are conducted at an individual’s home, or in another location outside of the agency’s facility, the need for privacy is even more crucial.
There may be housemates or family members in the vicinity whose presence may interfere with the investigation. Ensuring that the interview area can’t be “eavesdropped” should be a top priority. The interview subject should feel that they can express themselves freely. If others are able to listen in on the conversation, there could be serious legal implications. Confidentiality is key for every case.
For these reasons, it may be helpful to review the benefits of a physical, mobile interview recording facility, such as the iRecord mobile child advocacy center. These units work to guarantee privacy for children during their interview recording sessions. Moreover, because the units can travel and meet parties wherever, families and guardians are able to stay-in-place and limit their contact with public areas. This can truly be life-saving for certain individuals who are at high-risk for the coronavirus.
If your agency would like more assistance or advice on how to navigate remote interview recordings during the current health crisis or down the road, please know that iRecord is here to help. We are proud to support our clients and public safety professionals in any way that we can. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your options for gathering evidence remotely. We would be happy to assist in any way we can.