Methods of Interrogation: Techniques on Interrogation for Corporate Security

Using factual appeals, emotional appeals and a modified emotional appeal to allow your investigations to bear fruit


Classic Emotional

The classic emotional approach to an interrogation does not require the presentation of evidence. In this approach it generally begins with the use of a direct accusation, which accuses the suspect of involvement in a specific issue.

Interrogator: “Our investigation clearly indicates that you are involved in the theft of the missing cargo from the trailer.”

Suspect: “No, I didn’t do that”

Interrogator: “No, there is no question that you did, but what we are here to discuss is the reason why it happened.”

In response to the direct accusation the suspect almost always will deny using an emphatic denial. The suspect often will continue to deny since he has to protect his initial lie. The interrogator will reaccuse the suspect and then immediately turn to rationalization to offer face-saving reasons why the suspect became involved in the incident. It is not unusual for the suspect to interrupt the interrogator’s rationalization to offer another denial. The interrogator must be alert for the behavioral clues associated with a denial so he can interrupt the suspect before he can verbalize one.

If the rationalizations are successful, the suspect’s denials will weaken and become less frequent while his physical posture becomes much more open. As the suspect internalizes the rationalizations he begins to think about confessing. Outwardly the suspect’s physical behavior appears defeated. The head drops, the shoulders round, and the eyes begin to tear as the suspect goes into submission. By observing the suspect’s physical behavior it becomes evident to the interrogator that the suspect is ready to confess.

After carefully observing the suspect’s physical behavior and recognizing that it is associated with confession, the interrogator offers an assumptive question. The assumptive question is designed to make it easier for the individual to confess. Instead of asking, “You did this didn’t you?” the interrogator asks a choice question based on the rationalization. “Did you plan this out or did you do it on the spur-of-the-moment?” The suspect can make one of three responses to this question. He could select either choice or he could continue to deny. Selection of either of the choices is an admission of guilt to the incident under investigation and is supported by the interrogator, “Great, that’s what I thought.”

The interrogator then begins to develop the admission, answering the investigative questions who, where, when, why, and how. The suspect is locked into the details of his crime and the admission is fully developed into a confession. Once this has been adequately developed, the interrogator then goes on to obtain a statement from the suspect to preserve the confession for later use.

Wicklander-Zulawski Non-confrontational Method®

The Wicklander-Zulawski Non-confrontational Method® is a modified emotional appeal. The primary strategy in this approach is to avoid forcing the suspect into a position where he has to deny his involvement, which makes it more difficult for him to confess later. Instead, the Wicklander- Zulawski (WZ) method takes advantage of the three primary reasons why a person confesses and structures the interrogator’s approach to move the suspect from resistance to acceptance without denial.