New interview tool will provide key insights into human behaviour

An innovative interview tool which can provide police officers with an insight into the minds of suspects, enabling a greater understanding of human behaviour, has been developed by a lecturer from the University of Sunderland.

Jun 25, 2021
By Tony Thompson
Dr Laura Farrugia, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for BSc Forensic Psychology at the University of Sunderland Picture: DAVID WOOD

The Forensic Interview Trace (FIT) is a secure computer programme designed to record the structure, content and characteristics of a forensic interview, involving victims, witnesses, suspects and persons of interest.

Doctor Laura Farrugia, lead researcher of the project, said: “Grounded within psychological concepts such as memory, information retrieval and interpersonal communication and rapport-building, the tool is being developed to address some of the challenges associated with understanding human behaviour within the interview process, with a particular focus on interviewer and interviewee behaviour.

“As such, the tool will be of benefit for all police services in England and Wales, but also those on an international level.”

Given the recent cuts to funding and the impact this has had on training opportunities, police officers will be able to use the FIT to enhance their investigational skills and develop behavioural capability and information advantage.

Dr Farrugia, who is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for BSc Forensic Psychology at the University of Sunderland, added: “Given the type of complex investigation that UK police services and security agencies are involved in, there is a real need to develop behavioural capability and information advantage when conducting interviews with persons of interest involved in ongoing investigations.”

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