The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions : A Handbook by Gisli H. Gudjonsson – (Series in the psychology of crime, policing and law)
There are many reasons why people would be reluctant to confess to crimes they have committed. These include fear of legal sanctions, concern about one’s reputation, not wanting to accept what one has done, not wanting friends and family to know and fear of retaliation.
In view of this it is perhaps surprising to find that almost 60% of suspects in England make self-incriminating admissions or confessions during custodial interrogation. Contrary to my previous prediction (Gudjonsson, 1992a), the rate has not fallen following the implementation of PACE.
This finding is particularly important in that following PACE there has been a dramatic increase in the use of legal advisers at police stations, a practice that has grown from less than 10% in the mid-1980s to over one-third in the mid-1990s. How can this be explained when the presence of a legal advisor is a significant predictor of a denial?
One possible explanation is that it is not the presence of a lawyer itself that is of significance in ‘run-of-the-mill’ cases; rather it is characteristics of those suspects who elect to have legal advice that is of importance.
It is evident from English research reviewed in this book that most suspects enter the police interview having already decided whether or not to confess and they stick to that position: only in the more serious cases where the interviews tend to be longer and more pressured is resistance likely to be broken down.
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