Saturday, September 20, 2014

Law Enforcement and The Reliable Denial

                                                             by Peter Hyatt

In assisting law enforcement, or in actual trainings, it is often difficult to get the common patrol officer to accept the basic principle of the Reliable Denial.

The Reliable Denial exists of three components:

I. The pronoun "I"
II The past tense verb "did not" or "didn't"
III  The allegation specifically answered.

Principle:  People will rarely ever lie outright.

This is not due always to a tender conscience.  Even a sociopath will likely avoid a direct lie.  The brain protects itself from being accused of lying.  From childhood, such things as:

I.  "Didn't do it!  Didn't steal the money!" indicates an unwillingness to use the pronoun "I" and go directly against the truth, setting oneself up for the accusation of a lie.  In this example, the pronoun "I" is dropped.  This violates principle element number one:  the pronoun "I"

II.  "I would never hit her!" violates principle element number two:  the past tense verb.  "Wouldn't" is to avoid using "did not" or "didn't" in the denial.  "I never killed nobody."  "Never" is not to be accepted as "did not" or "didn't."

III.  "I did not harm that child!" in a child murder case.  The child was not "harmed" but murdered.  This violates principle element number three.

Q.  Why is it difficult in law enforcement to accept this principle?

Answer in two parts:

1.  It is difficult to get investigators, civil or criminal, to accept this principle.  It often seems too easy, and often takes months for the trainee to practice this principle and see it in action.  Often, the listener  will "interpret" the words, rather than listen.  The more honest the Interviewer, the more likely the Interviewer will interpret the words chosen, rather than listen.  Statement Analysis believes what one tells us, and knows the subject will guide us to the truth.

2.  It is difficult for rank and file patrol officers to accept this principle due to the fact that they are called into situations, sometimes all day or all night, where subjects are not truthful.  This becomes the expectation for them, and it is easier to simply dismiss all as telling the truth.

This is a challenge that is unique to law enforcement, though, in some locales, child protective caseworkers, who deal with horrific child abuse cases, in large volume, can also become jaded into believing "everyone is lying" to them. In child abuse cases, the principle element number three is actually the most common unreliable denial heard, as the brain immediately protects itself and the parent will minimize the abuse or the impact of abuse.  It is very difficult for a parent to accept the term "abuse" or even "neglect"

"I am a wonderful parent!" is often declared, even as the guilt builds.

Law enforcement, due to this natural placement, must not only receive strong training, but be repeatedly challenged with rehearsal; eventually, it will become intuitive and second nature.  Not only will valuable time be saved, but efficiency, in knowing the guilty from the innocent, will be produced.

The following is an interview about drug use on the job.  The subject was intelligent, and had a very strong personality, with very convincing body language, including good, but not over done eye contact, and a pleading within his words.

Statement Analysis is a science.  It avoids the emotions within a statement, including the subject's bearing and personality, and looks at what words his brain chooses in less than a micro second.

"The allegation is that you smoked pot on the job."

A.  "That is ridiculous.  I don't know who would say that about me.  Do you think, that even for a minute, I would put my job in jeopardy?  I have been with this company for years.  I work overtime when asked, and even stay late to help others without pay.  I am a devoted, honest, and good employee.  I am concerned about discrimination  against me because of my sexual orientation.  Perhaps I need to speak to someone from Human Rights, or even an attorney."

Q.  "How do you speak to the allegation?"

A.  "How do I speak to the allegation?  How does anyone speak to something so utterly false, so accusatory, and so terribly unfair?"

Q.  "Yes, what do you answer to the allegation?"

A.  "My answer is this.  I will say this to you, and say it to a judge, a lawyer, or to the Human Rights Commission.  I will not be discriminated against.  Not by you, or anyone else.  No one has given more of himself to this company than I have."

Q.  You have still to answer the question.

A.  "I have answered it!  It didn't happen!  I want to know who has made this accusation!"

You should have noticed that "it didn't happen" is a violation of the principles of the Reliable Denial, and that this subject has, passionately, avoided using the simple words, "I didn't do it..." in his responses.

This went on for some time.  I finally pointed out that he has not been able or willing to give me an answer.  I said that he was reported to have smelled of marijuana.

A.  "I am going to be honest with you, Peter.  I am.  I have a disability that you may not know of, and the only relief I have is the medical use of marijuana.  My doctor, along with specialists, have done years of testing on me, and are working on getting me a legal prescription.  But I am talking about my private, medical records, which is not for you to be going into like you are now.  I am very concerned that you are violating my private medical records right now, Peter."

Q.  "I am glad you are going to be honest with me.  I did not ask you about your medical condition.  We are a substance abuse company, with zero tolerance.  Did you smoke marijuana last night, while on the job?"

A.  "I am going to be honest with you, Peter.  I need you to hear me clearly, and then we are done talking about it, unless you want me to bring in my attorney. 

Q.  "I am fine with you brining in an attorney.  Would you like to call one now?  We can stop here."

A.  "No, I am going to be honest.  Listen, I did not smoke marijuana in your company, Peter."

Here we have a chance to validate the principle of the Reliable Denial

The Reliable Denial consists of three components.  Where there are less than three, or more than three, the denial is deemed:  Unreliable.

Q.  "Did you go for a walk last night?"

A.  (silence)

The subject was caught, confessed, and pleaded for his job.

The simple words "in your company" told me that he had left the premises.  The lengthy interview produced a confession, not just an admission.  The confession includes acknowledgment that what was done was wrong.  An admission will say "I did it" but without responsibility or remorse.  One recently said, "yeah, I did it, but why am I the only one caught?"

This subject, like so many today, was not only unwilling to say he didn't do it, but put up two significant diversions:  threatened suits over discrimination, and a violation of medical privacy laws.  Neither was true, but it showed the desperate mind, unwilling to lie outright, for fear of being caught. In his words, there is no direct lie.

People rarely lie outright.

In an hour and half interview, with the subject speaking 80% of the time, where the subject does not say "I didn't do it", there is a reason why the subject is unwilling or unable to say it.

We are not, therefore, permitted to say it for him.

When I interview someone, I take careful notes, and often read back quotes.  Interviewees are put at ease knowing that I will not lie, nor twist their words.   It is something I teach in seminars that help break down the resistance of a liar, and leads to more confessions.  It is a step by step process.

When someone, like a patrol officer who is constantly exposed to liars, learns and embraces the principle of the Reliable Denial, they become a fine tuned instrument for justice.  They are equipped to get answers, and clear the innocent, all with great time savings and efficiency.


It is "win-win."

It is difficult for anyone to accept a principle this simple, but more challenging for someone who hears deceptive people all day long.

In the two day seminar, I use "on the fly " interviews where I falsely accuse someone of taking my wallet during break.  It never fails to impress how analytical interview not only recognizes the RD, but how it uses the language of the subject.

When I say to an attendee, "Tell me about your morning...", the air becomes electric as the back and forth banter reveals content.

When I demonstrate to them, in case after case after case, how Reliable Denials were always missing from...Lance Armstrong, and celebrities like him, who have spent hours and hours giving interviews, they are convinced.

It is dynamic and exciting, but mostly...

it works.

8 comments:

tania cadogan said...

I love listening to people when i talk to them. I am incredibly nosy and tell them this when i ask for instance how they ebnded up doing whatever it is i am interested in.
I am upfront with them ( telling them i am nosy) and listening closely to their replies.
I find i get a much better rapport with them when they know i have a genuine interest in what they have to say.
Rflecting bacl terms they use tells them i am listening rather than distracted. They more often than not reveal a lot more about themselves than they realise when asked the right question in the right way.

Anonymous said...

What about, "it wasn't me"?

Kellie said...

Anonymous said...

What about, "it wasn't me"?

September 20, 2014 at 10:06 PM


If someone responded to an accusation with "it wasn't me" my thought would be they either know who it was or they suspect (have an idea) who it was. Either way they know more than they are saying.

Anonymous said...

"it wasn't me"? Made me think of an old Shaggy song.

Anonymous said...

I just had an instance of not receiving a reliable denial. It was a working relationship I was looking forward to entering, with another charity org, as it would have helped me very much. However during a money transaction, I caught one of the people lying. When I confronted their partner, I did not hear what I wanted to hear, either a reliable denial, or an acknowledgment and apology. What I did get? Anger, excuses, contradictory explanations, insults, accusations. Very sad for me as I was really looking forward to working with them and moving forward in the cause. But thanks to what I have learned here, I knew what to listen for, and what might have been a hunch before I knew statement analysis, I was able to verify. I still feel really sad, and even sick to my stomach about it, but I have to look at the truth, and realize I can't make what I want to be true, true, and that I have made the best decision under the circumstances. Otherwise what if I am entrenched and it only gets worse? Who will I have to blame then? Only me. And there will be far more at stake if I wait. I guess they assumed I was stupid and desperate. I am actually both I think, but not so much as they thought. And when I look back there were a couple of red flags before this, instances where they didn't respond to my questions, also the two partners playing good cop/bad cop off each other, and not taking much responsibility for how much work would need to be done to achieve our goals, sort of leaving it all on me - saying things like "sorry I've lost the plot" or "you'll have to figure that out as we are clueless" and "it's too complicated for me" It would have been a ton of work for me now I realize it would have all gone unappreciated. Anyway, thanks. Painful though.

Peter Hyatt said...

Anonymous said...
I just had an instance of not receiving a reliable denial. It was a working relationship I was looking forward to entering, with another charity org, as it would have helped me very much. However during a money transaction, I caught one of the people lying. When I confronted their partner, I did not hear what I wanted to hear, either a reliable denial, or an acknowledgment and apology. What I did get? Anger, excuses, contradictory explanations, insults, accusations. Very sad for me as I was really looking forward to working with them and moving forward in the cause. But thanks to what I have learned here, I knew what to listen for, and what might have been a hunch before I knew statement analysis, I was able to verify. I still feel really sad, and even sick to my stomach about it, but I have to look at the truth, and realize I can't make what I want to be true, true, and that I have made the best decision under the circumstances. Otherwise what if I am entrenched and it only gets worse? Who will I have to blame then? Only me. And there will be far more at stake if I wait. I guess they assumed I was stupid and desperate. I am actually both I think, but not so much as they thought. And when I look back there were a couple of red flags before this, instances where they didn't respond to my questions, also the two partners playing good cop/bad cop off each other, and not taking much responsibility for how much work would need to be done to achieve our goals, sort of leaving it all on me - saying things like "sorry I've lost the plot" or "you'll have to figure that out as we are clueless" and "it's too complicated for me" It would have been a ton of work for me now I realize it would have all gone unappreciated. Anyway, thanks. Painful though.
September 26, 2014 at 12:13 AM

sad reality

Peter

Peter Hyatt said...

Kellie said...
Anonymous said...

What about, "it wasn't me"?

September 20, 2014 at 10:06 PM

If someone responded to an accusation with "it wasn't me" my thought would be they either know who it was or they suspect (have an idea) who it was. Either way they know more than they are saying.

September 21, 2014 at 3:49 AM


Hi Kelli

Sometimes, it is just an acknowledgement that the event happened.

Peter

Anonymous said...

I am the anon with the charity work - thanks, Peter, for the acknowledgment.