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What is the Reid Technique in police interrogation?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Criminal Law

When you are arrested by police on suspicion of a criminal offense, they might conduct interrogations to determine your involvement in the crime. The Reid Technique is a popular method in these interrogations, aiming to elicit confessions from suspects.

If you are facing interrogation, understanding how the Reid Technique is applied can help you safeguard your rights and respond effectively. This includes being aware of the three influence strategies commonly employed in the Reid Technique.


The interrogator may employ maximization by exaggerating the strength of the evidence against you or by emphasizing the severity of the consequences of not confessing. They might suggest that they have incontrovertible proof of your guilt, even if such evidence doesn’t exist and may insinuate that refusing to confess will result in harsher legal penalties or societal condemnation. This tactic is designed to pressure you into admitting to the crime, believing that confessing is the only way to mitigate the perceived severity of the situation.

Appeal to conscience

The interrogating officer may also attempt to appeal to your sense of morality or guilt, suggesting that confessing is the right thing to do for the sake of justice or to alleviate your own conscience. They might frame confession as a way to take responsibility for your actions and move toward redemption. This tactic aims to manipulate your emotions and conscience, making you more inclined to confess in order to alleviate feelings of guilt or to fulfill a perceived moral obligation.


In contrast to maximization, minimization involves downplaying the seriousness of the offense or your culpability in order to make confessing seem less daunting. The interrogator might suggest that the crime was a minor mistake or that your involvement was unintentional or justified. This strategy is often used to make confessing appear more socially acceptable or less shameful, thereby facilitating compliance with the interrogator’s objectives.

Having legal guidance during an interrogation is crucial for protecting your rights and helping ensure that you don’t inadvertently say something that could be self incriminating.