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Interview and Interrogation Training: Withholding Evidence

This week’s International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip provided by Wicklander-Zulawski, has Dave Thompson, CFI, discussing the importance of withholding key evidence during an interview or interrogation.

The term “withholding” really means keeping the information within the investigative resources, meaning you (and maybe your witness) is aware of that information. By not releasing that information to your subject, it gives you several advantages in the conversation.

First of all, the subject does not know exactly what you know, which sometimes leads the subject to admit to crimes that you were unaware of in the first place. If you show them an example of them taking money out of a register on video, they might admit to that one instance, but not to the five other times they’ve committed the same crime.

The other benefit of withholding a key piece of evidence is that if your subject is able to give you specific details about the crime and about the act, and you never prompted them with that information, that helps you substantiate that information. If they can give you information that only the guilty person would know, it helps you understand they’re being truthful—which also helps you validate or vouch for the rest of the story that they’re going to provide.

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Often, investigators will feel frustrated and will want to present the subject with evidence in order to get the admission. Challenge yourself to withhold that evidence or make it more of a gradual release for the reasons discussed here.

Watch the video, then let us know what topics you’d like to hear more about in upcoming Tips of the Week: Take the survey.

Every loss prevention investigator should continuously strive to enhance their investigative interviewing skills as part of an ongoing commitment to best-in-class interviewing performance. This includes holding ourselves to an elite standard of interview and interrogation training that is ethical, moral and legal while demanding excellence in the pursuit of the truth. The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) and Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ) provide interview and interrogation training programs and additional guidance to investigators when dealing with dishonest employees, employee theft, sexual harassment, policy violations, building rapport, pre-employment interviewing, lying, denials and obtaining a statement.

By focusing on the latest information and research from experts in the field as well as academia, legal and psychological resources, these video tips provide interview and interrogation training techniques that can enhance the skill sets of professionals with backgrounds in law enforcement, loss prevention, security, asset protection, human resources, auditors or anyone looking to obtain the truth.

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To learn more about interview and interrogation training and how you can further develop your professional skill sets, visit or

This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated in September of 2020.

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