Trends in recording police interviews

Tired of the debate over who said what, many agencies use new digital technology to record all interviews of suspects, victims and witnesses.


     With the increasing focus on the topic of recording custodial interrogations and interviews, it is only a matter of time before law enforcement agencies across the nation tune in to the benefits of upgrading to digital solutions. In addition, external factors will likely further drive the adoption of digital recording and rich-media content management solutions including:

  • Development of minimum standards and specifications or guidelines for interview-room recording technology equipment by organizations such as the Law Enforcement Information Technology Standards Council and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This, in turn, will provide law enforcement agencies with a frame of reference and aid them in making the commitment to have their interview rooms outfitted with modern, robust technology that can easily capture and manage rich media content.
  • Solutions designed specifically for this application will continue to develop and proliferate. Integration of multimedia content captured from interview recordings by other police information systems — for example, from case reports — will be critical in the future. In addition, systems and data within police agencies will be required to be compatible with external enterprises such as prosecutors' offices and courts.
  • The concept of network storage and remote access to recorded content will gain acceptance as issues related to security and restricted access are adequately addressed. In turn, there will be a decreasing desire for agencies to retain physical copies of the recording on optical media for evidentiary and other purposes, thereby further lowering the agencies' operating costs.
  • As the use of digital technology in interview recordings grows, the requirement to prove the authenticity of the recording in court will become ever more important. Use of digital signatures in interview room recording equipment will inevitably be the next technological progression for this market application.

     It is clear that recording of interviews and interrogations has gained prominence in recent years, and solutions to meet the requirements of this application at various levels are now available. What remains to be seen is how quickly these will be adopted on a large scale and what advancements will spark the next wave of evolving applications of this important emerging technology.

     Radhika Anand is a product manager at ForTheRecord (FTR) Limited, where she drives the development of digital recording and content-management solutions specifically for the law enforcement market.

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