An integral aspect of SyncScience is to develop and incorporate metrics of success into our services.
SyncScience will work with individual departments and agencies to develop methods of assessing the impacts of the training: is more information obtained? Are subjects more cooperative? Are more intelligence requirements met? We seek to measure success and learn from the application of science to practice.
SyncScience is not a static enterprise. as the science grows, the methods we teach grow as well.
Science relevant to interviewing is cumulative. In the U.S., this science is supported by the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), the National Institute of Justice, and the National Science Foundation (among other federal agencies). In the U.K., this science is supported by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST). SyncScience incorporates new science as it is available – this, together with metrics of impact, ensure that interview methods are continually improving.
The first and biggest challenge to an interview is to gain the cooperation of the subject.
The subject of a interview may be unwilling to talk or be forthright for a variety of reasons.
A good interviewer listens, especially when it appears the interview is not going well – that is, when the conversation feels somehow ‘out of sync.’ When this happens, experienced interviewers and negotiators will change how they talk to match how the subject is talking.
It is common for interviewers to assume that their role is to ask questions, and it common for subjects of interviews to wait to answer questions.
Interviews for purposes of collecting strategic level intelligence may not be about a particular event. In such situations, the interviewer is likely to need to answer questions posed by his or her own intelligence collection capability. In law enforcement operations, the smallest detail provided on a scene, during an interview, or on the streets might provide critical information to fill the departments intelligence gaps.
There is much misunderstanding and many myths about how to detect deception. Generally, police officers are taught that an interviewer can ‘read’ deception via non-verbal behaviors, such as avoiding the interviewer’s gaze, fidgeting, grooming or touching the face; showing signs of nervousness such as sweating, tremor or leg shaking; or assuming a defense posture, sitting back from the interviewer with arms and/or legs crossed. None of these are valid cues to deception.
Many interviewers have information or evidence relevant to the subject before the interview begins. It is possible that such information or evidence is why the subject is being interviewed in the first place.
An interviewer who is interviewing for purposes of information collection is constantly making decisions, in preparation for the interview, during the interview, and after the interview, when the information collected is being evaluated. Whereas the interview process may appear rational and systematic, human decision making skills are anything but.
When engaging people, some of the largest hurdles to overcome are notions perpetrated by history and/or the media…
- Torture; waterboarding, blindfold, animals (rats, aggressive dogs), sleep deprivation.
- Aggression, yelling loud noise, intense questions, no time to talk.
- Bright Lights.
- Small cramped space, bright lights, no food.
- Good Cop Vs Bad Cop.
- Body Language.
Intelligence is just one phase of the cycle. Prior to the gathering and processing intelligence, directives must be provided by key decision makers and leaders. The directives, known as “requirements,” consist of key objectives and tasks for the department such as; “reduce gang violence in XXXX town.” The intelligence teams then can analyze the best possible way to reduce gang violence by weighing various options against risk. Once a strategy is decided upon, the intelligence is interpreted to the field, which would be your officer or squad, which effect that environment based on the best course of action. Once complete, the impact or results go back to the decision makers to redirect or continue tasking against.
Intelligence Agencies and Military Units are grounded in the belief that intelligence drives operations. Almost every government mission derives from an intelligence nexus and, once completed, moves into another intelligence planning phase for the next mission based on decision maker gaps and objectives. This methodology is used in some of the most basic operations, from source meets and interviews to the most complex, such as executing high profile raids on high-value targets or clandestine intelligence collect on a foreign government.
EXAMPLES OF EVIDENCE BASED INTERVIEW METHODS
- Planning and Analysis: to reveal cognitive biases and enhance decision-making and facilitate impression management.
- Your Brand: and how that impacts on the person you are speaking with.
- Setting up an interview environment: increasing the odds that an interview subject will provide critical information.
- Strategic objective setting: which supports the short- and long-term goals of an interview.
- Keeping communication on track and in sync
- Eliciting Narratives: How to elicit a narrative that is rich in sensory and experiential details, as well as verifiable details
- Questioning Strategies: Questions to avoid and questions that are useful
- Deception Detection: Methods to discern whether an account is likely to be true, or only true in part