The construction of records in Dutch police interrogations
Police records in the Netherlands should be written as much as possible in the suspect’s ‘own words’. However, they show a curious mix of legal phrases and colloquialisms. They are drawn up as first person monologues, which obscures the interactional nature of the interrogation. This article sheds light on the interrelations between the interrogation and the recording of it, showing how the interaction in the interrogation affects what is written down, and how the recording activities affect the interaction in the interrogation. Moreover, it illuminates some of the discrepancies between actual practice and the recommendations in police manuals. What appears to have a significant effect on the interrogation is the practice of contemporaneous typing of the records. The resulting question-answer-typing format favors some interrogation and recording techniques over others. This may explain why it is often not the suspect’s ‘own words’ that are recorded, but those of the interrogator.