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Interrogating and interviewing- how they differ in case of investigation?

It is perhaps a very interesting endeavor to differentiate between an interview and interrogation as they both share the same goal or end. An insightful micro analysis might be helpful to discuss the intricate differences in spite of some visible macro similarities. For a successful investigation to be conducted, the investigator definitely needs to identify the criminal, locate him properly and finally prove his crime to punish him. But is this process as easy as it sounds? Or is intelligence all an investigator needs? For an effective investigation to be conducted, it is extremely important to approach the investigation in a systematic procedural and legal manner. Interview and interrogation are definitely two very important tools.


Similarities: – For any effective discussion on differences, it is important to take a note of basic similarities. Both interview and interrogation deal with the act of eliciting information from a witness/suspect. They have some additional common goals as well like the details of the crime to be found out, to cross- check or identify the facts of the crime, to eliminate the other suspects. Information about the future interview or interrogations can be sorted. Both provide evidence for a concrete case and facts that are needed for effective investigation to be carried out. The effectiveness of both depends on the efficiency of the one who is conducting the act.


Dissimilarities: – An interview can be broadly discussed as a formal conversation usually employed to evaluate qualifications, potential of the interviewee. It can also be viewed as a meeting to extract information or reproduce the information already obtained. Interrogation can be broadly defined as an act of extracting information/ confession from a suspect/ criminal. There is a broad array of techniques used mainly by the police/ military/ intelligence bureau officials.

You can take a quick look through-

  • In case of investigations, suspects are interrogated while the witnesses are subject to interview.
  • Interview is a structured and non-accusatory process, to obtain information from a person, who is suspected to have knowledge of it, while interrogation is an accusatory process, where the suspect is questioned in a confident manner and convinced that to admit his knowledge would be the best thing to do.
  • In case of an interview the interviewer tries to get general information, while in case of interrogation the interrogator tries to get the specific truth.
  • A cordial atmosphere is one of the pre-requisites for “getting to the truth”, where the witness is comfortable both psychologically and physically. In case of interrogation the reverse holds true.
  • In an interrogation the interrogator, in order to derive the confession overpowers his suspect psychologically; this might even lead to physical torture. But in case of an interview both interviewer and the witness feel at ease.
  • It is important to establish a good rapport in case of an interview,…

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