Woman writing forensic studies notes on whiteboard

Forensic interviewing research

Explore our work in forensic interviewing, one of our areas of expertise within Criminology

Our research in forensic interviewing looks at some of the most pressing issues affecting how we detect and prevent crime – and how information from the scene of a crime, and from within the minds of the witnesses present, can be gathered, protected and interpreted correctly.

Psychological research has repeatedly shown that information is only as good as the initial communication and memory tools used to gather it.

If the information elicited or collected is less than full and faithful, then poor decisions – based on poor information – are likely to follow. Vital details can be missed, miscarriages of justice can occur, and investigations can fail – but our research is working to prevent this. 

We're using evidence-based procedures to create new techniques that can be applied in the real world, in a variety of forensic contexts – including critical incidents such as terror attacks.

Our work is regularly published by leading journals, including Current Directions in Psychological Science, the Journal of Applied Psychology, the International Journal of Police Science and Management, the British Journal of Law and Human Behaviour, the Journal of Forensic Practice, and the Criminal Law Review.

Our research covers the following key topics

  • Forensic interviewing
  • Interviewing vulnerable groups
  • interviewing victims of sexual crime
  • Use of interpreters within the interviewing context
  • Intelligence gathering tools
  • Use of body worn video
  • Investigation
  • Transference of research into the field – impact
  • Miscarriages of justice
  • Critical incidents
  • Health and well-being – trauma

Much our research takes place in the Centre of Forensic Interviewing, an internationally-recognised centre of excellence for investigative interviewing, led by Professor Becky Milne, that brings together research, teaching, and innovation activities.

Within the centre, we're also finding answers to questions, such as:

  • How do we gather full and accurate information at a chaotic dynamic scene?
  • What are the best ways to interview vulnerable groups?
  • How do we assess reliability across differing accounts?
  • What are the barriers to obtaining intelligence from a human source?
  • How do we transfer techniques taught in training into the field, and
  • Can all personnel communicate and interview to a good ethical standard?

Partnerships and funders

We frequently collaborate with major partners to transform our research work into practical, usable solutions to problems occurring in the field. We've developed novel interview techniques, training programmes and interview courses, and provided case advice too.

We've recently worked with Fire Services in London, Hampshire, the West Midlands and others, the London Ambulance Service, the UK's military and security services, as well as social services, local authorities, banks, and the UK government's Department of Work and Pensions. We've also received significant funding from major organisations, such as the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST).

Publication highlights

Discover our areas of expertise

Forensic interviewing is one of our 7 areas of expertise in our Criminology research area. Explore the others below.

Research groups

We're researching the challenge of fraud and its effective control, focussing on how to inform the practice and delivery of security from public and private sector perspectives.
We're promoting research and scholarship that have the transformative potential for the practice of criminal and social justice.

Interested in a PhD in Criminology?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Criminology postgraduate research degrees page.