The psychology of interviewing suspects, from Woolwich to Boston

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Abstract

One of the suspects in the Woolwich murder, Michael Adebowale, has now appeared in court while another, Michael Adebolajo, remains in hospital. In the US, only one of the bombers survived. In these, as is the case in other horrific incidents, interviews with the attackers will be used to establish the facts and why they committed such crimes.

Obtaining complete, accurate and reliable information is central to any criminal investigation and how this is done is especially important in high-stake crimes such as murder and sexual offences, and acts of terrorism as happened in Boston and Woolwich, where suspects may have a great deal to lose if they admit they were involved.

It’s vital for victims, their families, the public, and the suspects - for whom there will be little sympathy - that they are given a fair hearing regardless of the public outcry. And police must try and remain impartial at all costs in the interests of justice.

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