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Language of Police Interviews

  1. Kate Haworth

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0631

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Haworth, K. 2012. Language of Police Interviews. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


Interviews conducted on behalf of institutions have long been recognized by linguistic researchers as important sites of social interaction, and few have such significant consequences as interviews conducted by the police in the course of a criminal investigation. Alongside the high-stakes nature of the interaction on the personal level of the interviewee, they are also a socially significant site of direct contact between the institutions of the police, the legal system, and the state, and the individuals whom they control and protect. This therefore represents a particularly fascinating and important area of linguistic study, which has been analyzed from a wide variety of methodological perspectives. Key aspects of interest are issues of power and dominance, question types and questioning strategies, the creation of records of interview interaction for later use in the judicial process, historical miscarriages of justice connected with the falsification of interview records, interviews with vulnerable groups such as children or speakers of different languages, and the communication of rights.


  • discourse analysis;
  • government, politics, and law;
  • forensic linguistics