'For the Record': applying linguistics to improve evidential consistency in police investigative interview records

Kate Haworth, James Tompkinson, Emma Richardson, Felicity Deamer, Magnus Hamann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The “For the Record” project (FTR) is a collaboration between a team of linguistic researchers and police in the England & Wales jurisdiction (E&W). The aim of the project is to apply insights from linguistics to improve evidential consistency in police interview transcripts, which are routinely produced by transcribers employed by the police. The research described in this short report is intended as a pilot study, before extension nationally. For this part of the project, we analysed several types of data, including interview audio and transcripts provided by one force. This identified key areas where current transcription practise could be improved and enhanced, and a series of recommendations were made to that force. This pilot study indicates that there are three core components of quality transcription production in this context: Consistency, Accuracy, and Neutrality. We propose that the most effective way to address the issues identified is through developing new training and guidance for police interview transcribers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1178516
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Communication
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 Haworth, Tompkinson, Richardson, Deamer and Hamann. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


  • transcription
  • police interviews
  • investigative interviews
  • Language as evidence
  • forensic linguistics
  • applied linguistics
  • institutional record


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