Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Deception in Police-Suspect Interaction in Ibadan, Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Deception in Police-Suspect Interaction in Ibadan, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Interrogating police officers, henceforth IPOs, adopt a number of strategies in their bid to achieve success in the course of their enquiries. One of the onerous tasks of the police is the task of investigating criminal intent. In the Nigerian context, a department known as Criminal Investigation Department is saddled with the task of probing criminal activities. Such investigations are carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution. There is no doubt that crime investigation places a great of demand on the psyche (Dastjerdi, 2008; Edwards, 2013). This behoves IPOs to resort to psychological tactics in achieving confession. Achieving confessional statements is the overall goal of IPOs. However, suspects flagrantly work at cross purposes with the goal of IPOs; suspects do not voluntarily confess during the course of interrogation. IPOs resort to deception instead of physical torture in their attempt to obtain confessional statements from suspects. Deception is a means through which IPOs conceal certain information, ideas, intents and emotions so as to get suspects confess during interrogation.

Forensic linguistics has recently attracted the attention of language researchers. One of the concerns of their research is investigating the language of police interrogation (Gordon, 2012; Heffer, 2010). Police officers' use of language during interrogation is worthy of being investigated as different motivations, ideologies of IPOs are unraveled through a close study of the language of enquiry (Farinde, 2008; Ahialey, 2013; Ayodele, 2013; Makandi, 2008; Haworth, 2012). In Nigeria for example, IPOs resort to deception to feign a number of issues before suspects. Such use of deception is aimed at ensuring the success of the enquiry. Ekundare (2014) observes that IPOs take into cognizance the age, religion, social status, marital status and degree of suspects' crime during investigation. He notes that these factors come to bear during investigation. On the same issue, Nicola (2012) observes that the physical setting of the interrogation room and the conduct of IPOs are prominent factors that affect the interrogation process. Akinrinlola (2016) notes that deception is needful in handling the complexities and hurdles experienced by IPOs during crime investigation. Deception is a conscious process of veiling facts and cleverly luring suspects to confess to crime Leo (2009). It is observed that deception manifests greatly in police-suspect interaction. IPOs go extra mile in achieving confession in their interaction with suspects. They sometimes appeal to suspects' ignorance, intellect and circumstances surrounding suspects' crimes (Akinrinlola and Ajayi, 2016). Deception manifests at the interrogation stage of the entire enquiry. Suspects' cognition is manipulated to achieve certain institutional goals during interrogation sessions. Both IPOs and suspects are communicators in such interaction and the need for them to maximize relevance in the course of interrogation is geared by the need to manipulate the mental state of others. The interactants (IPOs and suspects), routinely work towards what generates positive cognitive effects in the interaction. It is important to assert that the study is predicated on inferential communication and this underscores the fact that background knowledge and context of the interaction give clue to meaning.

Studies on police discourse have examined discourse acts and legal requirements in police interrogation. Some of these studies include those of (Leo, 2009; Reid, 2007; Magid, 2007; Heydon, 2005; Makandi, 2008; Haworth, 2012; Farinde, 1997, 2008; Terebo, 2012; Sadiq, 2012; Ayodele, 1988). These studies have not engaged the psychological peculiarities in police-suspect interaction. Besides, the studies do not describe how police officers manifest power over suspects. This study intends to describe deception as a strategy used by IPOs in eliciting confessional statements from suspects and describe how power relations are negotiated in such interaction. …

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