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Reconstructing Suspects’ Stories in Various Police Record Styles

Reconstructing Suspects’ Stories in Various Police Record Styles

Chapter:
(p.329) Chapter Fifteen Reconstructing Suspects’ Stories in Various Police Record Styles
Source:
The Discourse of Police Interviews
Author(s):
Tessa (T. C.) van Charldorp
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226647821.003.0015

Police interrogations in the Netherlands and Belgium are written up in police record format during the interrogation itself. The written version is written in different styles: a monologue style, recontextualized style and/or question-answer style. This chapter shows that the suspect’s spoken stories are transformed in various ways, depending on the style used by the police officer. In the monologue style it appears as if the suspect has volunteered all the information in the written text in a drastically summarized, coherent format. The complicated recontextualized style mainly looks as if it was volunteered by the suspect, but does show traces of the officer’s questions. However, not only the suspect’s words are reformulated in the written text, so are the officer’s questions, creating a false sense of accuracy. The question-answer style most accurately reflects what went on in the interrogation. However, not all questions and answers are written up, again creating a false sense of being complete. Therefore, future readers of police records must remember that it is always a reconstructed, summarized version of what went on in the interrogation.

Keywords:   police interrogation, police record, monologue, question-answer, recontextualized, style, storytelling

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