A review of the PEACE interview model training and implementation in real-life interviews

Dublin Core


A review of the PEACE interview model training and implementation in real-life interviews


Jack Hardaker




Police officers in England and Wales are trained to conduct interviews in line with the PEACE model of interviewing, however, the level of implementation of the PEACE procedures can vary between organisations and over time. The present study aimed to review the quality of current PEACE model interviewing training and its implementation into interviewing practice. Initially, in Study One, 62 training feedback forms from the Cumbria police force were analysed using thematic analysis to gain an overview of the training’s strengths and weaknesses. In Study Two, 30 interviews from 10 officers trained on these courses were analysed, to see if reported intention to implement the PEACE model and techniques learnt during training were transferred into real-life interviewing practice. Data from Study One indicated that the course was satisfactorily structured and presented, with data from Study Two showing improvement for most Tier-2 interviewers interviewing abilities after training, though some interviewers failed to implement concepts and techniques covered on the training course. Potential explanations for these findings and ways to improve the transference of skills from interviewing training are discussed.


PEACE model, Interviewing, Investigation, Interrogation, Training, Evaluation, Interviewing techniques, PEACE model training


Study One
Method Participants All 62 participants undertook either a Tier-2 or Tier-3 interviewing course with the Cumbria police force. Participants were currently serving officers of constable rank or higher, of which, 34 were female and 28 were male. There was considerable variance in years of service between Tier-2 interviewers and Tier-3 interviewers, though no exact measure of years of service or age was included with the data provided. Materials Data The 62 training evaluation forms were provided to the researcher by the Cumbria police force, and were from either the Tier-2 investigative interviewing or the Tier-3 investigative interviewing course. The forms contained two scales indicating levels of confidence in conducting interviews before and after receiving the training, with a further four scales indicating levels of agreement with questions relevant to the study, and a single “Yes or No” question indicating if the participant was satisfied with the training received overall (see Appendix A for the full list of questions and exact wording). For all six scales, participants rated their strength of agreement with the statement using a scale of one to five (Likert, 1932). Three open questions were included on the form that stated: “If you have any other comments about this training please record them here”, “Are there any elements of the course did you not find useful or feel require further explanation?”, “If you have any other comments to make about this course please record them below.” Ethics Ethical approval was granted by a member of the Lancaster University Psychology department before data collection and analysis began. Data was collected by the Cumbria police force with all participants consenting to complete the feedback forms with the knowledge that their comments would be evaluated to improve the training courses. All course evaluation forms were reviewed by the researcher in a secure location at Cumbria police force headquarters, with findings being stored on the secure Lancaster University OneDrive system. No information that could allow an individual to be personally identified has been included in this report.
Study Two
Participants Five interviewers who had undertaken the Tier-2 interview training course with the Cumbria police force and five interviewers who had undertaken the Tier-3 interview training course with the Cumbria police force were randomly selected from the sample of 62 officers who had completed the evaluation forms used in Study One. At the time of writing, no officer had undertaken further training than the course ascribed to them. Six officers were female with four being male. As in Study One, no age data was available to record. On average Tier2 trained interviewers had 2.6 years of interviewing experience (SD = 0.8) with a range of two to four years of experience, whilst Tier-3 trained interviewers had 6.4 years of interviewing experience (SD = 3.93), with a considerably wider range of between three and 14 years of experience. Materials Data Thirty interview videos were reviewed by the researcher, three from each interviewer with one interview being before training, one being as close as possible after training and one being the most recent interview that the interviewer had conducted. Of these interviews, only two were conducted with victims and 28 were conducted with suspects, with both victim interviews being conducted by Tier-3 officers. Interviews covered a wide range of offences, with eight counts of assault, three shoplifting, two of burglary, two of possession of illegal drugs, two of criminal damage, one of resisting arrest, seven of sexual assault, six of rape, and one accessory to murder. Tier-2 interviews on average lasted 21 minutes (SD = 12.29) with the shortest being only five minutes and the longest being 52 minutes, whilst Tier-3 interviews lasted on average 56 minutes (SD = 18.82) with the shortest being 18 minutes and the longest being 86 minutes. Tier-2 interviewers’ most recent interview was on average 275.4 days (SD = 182.69) after training, and the closest interview to their training date with on average 52.2 days (SD = 41.33) after completing the training. Tier-3 interviewers’ most recent interview was on average 340.2 days (SD = 64.39) after training, and the closest interview to their training date with on average 36.8 days (SD = 21.07) after completing the training. Procedure The interview footage was provided by the Cumbria police force on a secure internet system only accessible from the Cumbria police station (the researcher took anonymised notes, and no video recordings or other personally identifiable information left the secure system). From the available interview recordings, footage was selected to be as close as possible to before and after the interviewer’s training date, as well as the most recent interview where the interviewer acted as the lead or sole interviewer. These were used to ensure the recordings gave a clear indication of pre-training ability, immediate post-training ability, and to see if training abilities were improved by the interviewing courses—as well as to check if these improvements continued after a long period since the training. Notes were subsequently coded into four categories for adherence to the PEACE model and techniques were tallied whenever used; 1) examples of preparation, 2) establishment of rapport, 3) appropriate use of the account, clarify and challenge phase and 4) the inclusion of a closure phase. The evaluation phase (where interviewers are given feedback on their performance) of the PEACE model wasn’t included in this study, as this process wasn’t included in the footage of the interviews. The development of the categories and the categorisation of behaviours was informed by the PEACE model training research by Hall (1997) and Clarke and Milne (2001). Examples of preparation included behaviours such as highlighting new information that did not refer to notes or inference, preparation of questions and a clear understanding of the interviewee’s circumstances and case. The establishment of rapport was noted when interviewers used jokes or friendly language, open and trusting body language (eye contact, open posture, mirroring of behaviour, Sandler & Lillo-Martin, 2006), or showed concern or interest in the interviewees’ needs, such as asking if they needed refreshments or asking how they felt. Appropriate use of the account, clarify and challenge phase was categorised by interviewers allowing the interviewee time to give an account (following the 80-20 rule of conversation management, Shepherd, 2007), clarifying unclear statements through summarising or re-asking questions, and asking questions which challenged accounts given by the interviewee. The inclusion of a closure phase was noted by the use of summarising accounts at the end of an interview, explaining what will happen after the interview concludes and giving the interviewee time to ask questions or provide further comments. The use of techniques mentioned on the evaluation forms as being taught and as seen on the courses syllabuses were recorded. These techniques were the use of the SER3 notetaking system, the use of silence, the use of a second interviewer, the use of open-ended questions, bad character warnings and special warnings. The counts for both adherence to the PEACE model and techniques utilised were subsequently tallied and compared between Tier2 and Tier-3 interviewers. Obtainment of a confession was not recorded in the data, as interviewees often enter an interview knowing if they intend to confess or not (Milne & Bull, 1999), and interviews repeatedly stifled by “No comment” responses would incorrectly be reported as failures. Ethics Ethical approval was granted by a member of the Lancaster University Psychology Department’s ethical committee and was approved by the Cumbria police force.


Lancaster University






Donavan Cheung
Mert Kaplanoglu













Sophie Nightingale

Project Level




Sample Size

Study One: N = 62, Study Two: N = 10

Statistical Analysis Type

Power analysis
Qualitative (Thematic Anlaysis)



Jack Hardaker, “A review of the PEACE interview model training and implementation in real-life interviews,” LUSTRE, accessed June 6, 2023, https://www.johnntowse.com/LUSTRE/items/show/175.