Is it Okay for an Interrogator to Leave the Room during an Interview?

You may not realize the silent message that’s sent when an interrogator leaves the room during a session with a witness or suspect, but do you know whether it’s actually appropriate and whether there is every a time when an investigator should leave an interrogation? Learn more about the Reid position on the subject and how easy having a state-of-the-art recording system will facilitate any type of interrogation.

What Leaving the Room Communicates

We’ve discussed several times here the disparity between Hollywood and what the movies and even popular TV series show about interrogation as reality and what interrogation really looks like. In film and on TV, abruptly leaving the interrogation room is often portrayed as an intentional tactic by the lead investigator—one that gets the suspect’s attention and leads to a confession.

The reality is far from the portrayal as The Reid Report explains.

“Anyone who interrogates criminal suspects for a living recognizes this as pure fiction. Leaving the room during an interrogation is often a symptom that the interrogation is going well and may lead to tactics that result in a suppressed confession.”

That being said, sometimes it is important to leave the interrogation room. Here are a few reasons from the September-October report that show both negative and positive effects of leaving during an interrogation.

Possible Negative Impact of Leaving the Interrogation Room

Leaving the room during an interrogation may sometimes lead to negative effects. Here are a few of those as outlined in the publication.

  1. Invites claims of duress
  2. Allows the suspect time to focus on consequences
  3. Decreases the investigator’s perceived confidence in the suspect’s guilt

Situations Where Leaving the Interrogation Room is a Good Idea

Leaving the interrogation room is also advised at some points in an investigation as is pointed out. Here are a few situations when that is appropriate.

  1. To regain emotional control
  2. To verify the suspect’s statements
  3. As an interrogation tactic

Read more from the September-October publication by clicking here.

Want to Learn How to Really Strengthen the Power of your Interrogations?

You can be the best interviewer or interrogator in your agency, but if you can’t guarantee that the testimony you’ve taken will be admissible in court, you aren’t going to be able to get far. Start a conversation with us about the quality and reliability of your digital audio and video recording equipment today.

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