The police in England and Wales have to work to a piece of legislation called the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984. This basically sets out how the police are to treat those suspected of committing crimes. There are also a set of codes of practice to guide the police on how to conduct themselves. Any breaches of the codes or the act can render any evidence inadmissible in court.  PACE Code E covers the conduct of interviews.

In order to provide a framework for officers to follow and help improve the quality of police interviews the PEACE Model was introduced first of all in 1993 and further promoted in 2001 with the publication of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Investigative Interview Strategy.

PEACE stands for –

Planning and preparation

Engaging and explaining

obtaining an Account from the subject

Closing the interview and

Evaluating the interview to see what you have got.

Police interview

There is a 5 tiered approach to interview training. All police officers are taught to tier 1 level in their initial police training. Those going on to investigate criminal matter such as burglary and robbery would then be trained to tier 2 level. Tier 3 is for those involved in the interviews of both suspects and witnesses in major crimes such as rape and murder. Tier 4 is for those that supervise interviewers and tier 5 is for those that give tactical interviewing advice to investigators and interviewers of complex and serious crime.

Those staff not PEACE trained will not, in many police forces in England and Wales, be allowed to conduct interviews with suspects of crime.  This doesn’t mean that every interviewing officer follows the model as they should and any evidence they uncover will not necessarily be inadmissible as a result but their skills and methods may be attacked in court in an attempt to discredit the officer and their evidence.

What about your interviewing officer?  What training has he or she had and do they follow the model?  Would you know whether they had or not?

Don’t forget to buy the updated and expanded British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers 2016, which you can acquire by clicking on the link above or the image below.

BPCD 2016 Cover on Amazon




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