Good cops better than bad cops at getting confessions: Study

Written by: Ani
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Washington, Feb 6 (ANI): Police officers who use a soft approach are more likely to get a confession from a criminal than those who are rough with the suspects, according to a new research.

To gain a better understanding of why and how criminals admit to their crimes, forensic psychologist Michel St-Yves and lead author Nadine Deslauriers-Varin, both from the University of Montreal's School of Criminology, worked with 221 prisoners and analysed the conditions under which they did or didn't confess.

The findings highlighted the predominant role of police evidence over and above other factors the researchers considered.

When evidence is strong, the confession rate increases independently of socio-demographic or criminological factors.

However, when police evidence is weak, researchers found that a confession is more likely if there are feelings of guilt about the crime, if the suspect is single at the time of the interrogation, has prior convictions, or was convicted for a more serious crime.

"Confessions mostly rely on how the interrogation is conducted and it's nothing short of an art form," said St-Yves.

"It's an art that must be practiced with finesse," he added.ther recent studies also showed that the police interrogator's attitude plays a significant role during the interrogation.

"Confessions mostly rely on how the interrogation is conducted and it's nothing short of an art form," said St-Yves.

He believes criminals feel the urge to confess for various reasons - to unburden themselves, to blame a third party, to make their crime more acceptable in the eyes of others or their own eyes, or in the hope of obtaining a lighter sentence.

Among the prisoners who volunteered for the study, 45 percent had confessed to their crime, which is slightly lower than the 50 percent confession rate concluded by other studies.

The confession rate of first-time offenders was 80 percent and 51 percent for repeat offenders.

The researchers also noted that the use of cameras in interrogation rooms was a good thing as it limits coercion, and in terms of transparency for the courts, it's the best possible way to witness just how the interrogation was undertaken.

The findings are published in Justice Quarterly. (ANI)

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