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Interview training

An interview, done properly and ethically, can do more than get to the bottom of a theft; it can send out good signals to the business, a trainer suggests.

Ian Kirke, pictured, recalls that as a police officer he used to think that yes, the truth was the most essential outcome wanted for an interview. What then of the presumption of non-self-incrimination; that if you choose not to say anything, as you may, according to our legal system? “It got me thinking; is the only objective of an interview to gain the truth? And it isn’t really. Indeed, what truth are we after? As William Christopher, Head of Fraud, McGrigors Lawyers, 5 Old Bailey, London once pondered: There are ‘six truths’; truth perceived by the defendant, truth articulated by the defendant’s counsel, truth perceived by the victim, truth stated by the prosecution, truth maintained by the jury and, of course, the truth itself.

“The primary objective in my opinion is simply to ask questions; the truth may trickle out of it, a lie, or indeed nothing, and to go into an interview thinking you are going to gain the truth is a bit of a misnomer.” Ian suggests that when interviewing someone – whether in a police setting, or a corporate or loss prevention investigator in private industry, or a non-criminal disciplinary hearing – you will have one of four outcomes. The person will say nothing, as they have a right to do. They may tell the truth; or a lie; or a mix (of lies and truth, and indeed silence also).

Ian’s training company TFS has brought out a programme for interviewers, to deal with those outcomes. Hertfordshire Police have procured the training for their uniformed officers. The aim; to offer an approach to interviewing that’s robust and reliable.

For the story in full see page 30 of the June 2016 print issue of Professional Security magazine; or read it online by visiting

More about the training

The approach by TFS uses serving senior police detectives and LLB (Hons) practitioners to deliver the programme led by Thames Valley Police Detective Supt Chris Ward. Visit The trainers have upcoming open events: June 21-22 (South East), September 27-28 (South West), November 15-16 (Midlands).

The May 2014 print issue featured TfS training for Hertfordshire Police to do ‘out of custody’ interviews with lower-level offenders.

As used by Sainsbury’s

Darren Baker, National Investigations Manager, Profit Protection Group at Sainsbury’s, talks about the training received by the retailer.

Why did they want the training?

We utilise training to support and enhance our colleagues’ capability to serve our customers from induction on their first day with the business through to developing talent for our future management requirements. The investigation interview skills course provides a learning platform for managers to develop a skilled understanding of the legal requirements and best practice when conducting investigation interviews.

How are they using the training?

The skills learnt on the two-day course are also transferable to other management interviews such as recruitment interviews.

What staff are trained (all in LP, or some?)

The training is currently available to all managers within the business. Our Loss Prevention Team also receive select specialist training to enable them to best support the colleagues in our stores and reduce the business risk from criminality.

How is training delivered (classroom)?

Sainsbury’s utilises all forms of training from classroom style, to one to one coaching, to online bite size videos and external expertise when required. The interview course currently in use is classroom-based.

What benefit have they found from the training?

The key benefit is confidence in knowing that they are asking and recording questions in the best way.


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