A cassete tape icon

Police interviews with suspects, conducted at police stations have, since the 1980s, involved using audio cassette tapes to record them.

Each year the police in the UK conduct almost 2 million interviews recorded in this manner.  Many of these tapes are transcribed, copied and sent to others involved in the criminal justice process, such as defence solicitors.  This can take many weeks, which in itself delays the administration of justice.

Each cassette tape has to be organized and stored away for at least 7 years, which also takes up time and space.  Sometimes, these tapes, which are pieces of evidence, are lost.

Police forces are coming under every increasing pressure to reduce costs.  Add to this the fact that the number of audio cassette manufacturers and suppliers are decreasing at a significant rate; there had been an urgent need to find an alternative method of recording police interviews.

Thankfully, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has negotiated a national arrangement with suppliers that will help forces switch from using out dated audio cassettes to digital technology for the recording and storage of police interviews.  This means that forces can now avoid costly and lengthy procurement processes and be able to buy up to date, networked digital technology at a substantial saving.

Once in place, the technology will speed up the interview recording process and free up police officer so that they can get back on the streets much quicker.

The interviews will record straight on to a secure digital network from which relevant, authorised persons can access the evidence and use it for their approved purposes.

This technology will also improve the recording quality: allow officers in different locations to listen to the live interview; prevent the loss of (taped) evidence and reduce the storage burden.

Therefore, if your book is to be published in the coming year, you may want to think about the technology used to record the interviews with your suspects.

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012


  1. Good to know, I shall update the method in my book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s