Questioning Techniques

Why is Questioning Needed?

Questioning is aimed at confirming or resolving suspicion indicators.  Should suspicion be confirmed, more time can be allocated to a thorough examination of a person’s documents and possessions.

Security Questioning

Security questioning is considered more effective than passively observing behaviours. A liar loses the choice of whether to conceal or falsify once challenged. When being questioned, a liar must create stories either in advance or on the spot.

This stress causes the body to exhibit certain noticeable characteristics. A person who is being observed without being questioned can more carefully select and rehearse how to behave so that the behaviour matches the norm more closely.

Questioning can also create emotions that may not be exhibited during passive observation. People do not actively select when they will feel emotion, and negative emotions may even happen despite themselves.

When emotions gradually appear, it is harder to detect the deceit as the behavioural changes are less noticeable. Strong emotions that can be brought on from questioning are harder to control.

Effective Questioning

Asking questions is natural and intuitive. However, your line of questioning must be logical and well thought through in order to get the results that you require.

Passenger co-operation

Before engaging into any form of questioning with a person, it is vital that you introduce yourself properly so that they know who you are and why they are being questioned.

For example, an airport security worker may use the following introduction;

“Good morning sir, my name is John and I’m the officer in charge of the security of your flight. With your permission I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.”

Systematic questioning

Terrorists and criminals create back stories for themselves.

They will have pre-recorded answers to generic questions they may expect to come up. However, their back stories always have a finishing point at which time they will be forced to lie without prior rehearsal.

In order to get to this point, you must, as a questioner follow up each question with another question about their answer.

For example, it is not enough to know where a person is going. You need to then ask why they are going, who they are meeting, where they are staying, how they are funding themselves on this trip, etc…

Perception to a person’s reaction

At certain points during your questioning, the person may avoid answering, contradict themselves, hesitate, and become nervous or even aggressive.

It is important to identify when this happens and why this has happened so suspicion can be confirmed or resolved.

Failure to notice any deviation in their behaviour during questioning may mean that you miss a lie.

Leading the conversation

People with something to hide may avoid answering, or lie, by diverting the conversation to other subjects.

This is why the conversation and topics should be controlled by the interviewer at all times.

Continuity of conversation

Passengers who may lie or avoid the truth will use breaks in the conversation to gather their thoughts; for better concealment of the truth, or to change the subject.

It is important to continue the questioning without pausing.