Tapes, transcripts and trials: What happens to interview data and why this matters

Activity: Talk or presentation types › Oral presentation


This paper will consider a vitally important but largely neglected aspect of investigative interviewing, namely the process of producing interview records. Around the world various different approaches are utilised for making records of interviews, from video or audio recording, through to written note-taking by the interviewer. Subsequently a formal written record will generally be produced, which may be a full transcript, an abridged version of the Q&A interaction, or a summary of what was said during questioning converted into a first-person monologue. These various methods of recording and representing interviews produce widely differing results in terms of accurately portraying what was said in interview, and this can have a serious knock-on effect when the interview is used as evidence later on in the process, especially at trial. All the efforts of interviewers to produce best evidence in the interview itself can be completely undone by the way in which interview data are subsequently treated. This paper aims to highlight why interview data need to treated with the same care accorded to physical evidence, and will compare practice in various different jurisdictions. It also draws on the presenter’s own experience of presenting interview evidence in court as a prosecutor.
Period25 May 2012
Event titleInternational Investigative Interviewing Research Group Annual Conference 2012
Event typeConference
LocationToronto, CanadaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational