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Awards set high bar in police interview training

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Published on 21 November 2022

Police officers awarded country's first diplomas in specialist interview techniques
Police officers awarded country's first diplomas in specialist interview techniques

A group of police officers has been awarded the very first diplomas in the country which recognise their achievements in specialist interview techniques.

The collaboration between South Yorkshire Police and the University of Sunderland, delivering Advanced Diplomas in Specialist Suspect Interviewing and Management and Co-ordination of Investigative Interviewing, saw up to 60 officers successfully complete the programme, reinforcing their continued professional development and raising standards to a world-class model.

During a presentation ceremony at Robert Dyson House in Rotherham, South Yorkshire Police Specialist Interview Advisers received their Investigative Interviewing Advanced Diplomas and are now assisting and supporting highly complex witness and suspect interviews in serious investigations.

There were also officers from forces across the country, including the Met, Lincolnshire , the Ministry of Defence, Staffordshire, Gwent, Gloucestershire and the City of London, who picked up their diplomas in Specialist Suspect Interviewing.

These interviewers, working in various departments, have all built a robust portfolio of evidence, showing detailed planning and interview techniques that are open to scrutiny of court and external examination.

Delivering the training is Gary Shaw, an investigator for almost 50 years and now Professor of Investigative Practice, at the University of Sunderland. Gary revolutionised techniques used by detectives when interviewing suspects accused of heinous crimes. His methods have changed the face of UK policing and he brought his wealth of experience to new Diplomas.

He said: “South Yorkshire Police has invested in the continuing professional development of their staff and also provided an opportunity to enable other forces to follow their lead.

“I have been involved in policing for nearly 50 years and feel that those who have dedicated their career to investigation are facing some of the most difficult challenges that I have seen over those years.

“The continuing professional development of investigative interviewers, which is often overlooked, is essential in ensuring that they are equipped to deliver the best quality of service to the public when conducting investigations in these ever-increasing challenging times.

“These awards are a celebration of success for those who have not only a difficult all-consuming operational role to perform but have taken the time to invest in themselves by embarking on achieving an academic qualification.”

Gary put together the programme with the University’s Dr Emma Spooner. Students had to complete a workplace portfolio and subject matter essay, endured a professional discussion focused on their learning and development and finally produced an action plan outlining their intended future progress.

South Yorkshire Detective Chief Inspector Mark Oughton (Force Lead for Interviewing) who attended the awards, said: “I am very proud of each of our officers who have worked incredibly hard with the University to achieve this qualification.

“I was pleased to see that some had brought their family members to come and help us recognise their achievement. I look forward in working with them to continue to drive improvements in investigations.

“This course was a national first with other forces now replicating our pathway."