Investigative Interviewing

Victim of Domestic Violence or Serious Sexual Assault?

Your memory is a crime scene and merits all the protection afforded to a physical crime scene.

The Issues

Domestic abuse and serious sexual assault offences frequently present unique challenges insofar as some ‘survivors’ are not immediately confident enough to formally report events, are intimidated not to do so, have little confidence in the authorities, or, as in this case, are unable to do so due to the nature of injuries inflicted.

The passage of time has a real impact on criminal investigations: memory fades, is contaminated by external influence, becomes distorted, less accessible, and accuracy decreases (Penrod et al 1982. Wixted & Ebbeson, 1991 & 1997. Goldsmith et al 2005). Moreover, the criminal justice system offers little in the way of support for sterile, forensic recall of events. Indeed, this sets victims up for failure when under cross-examination by a skilled advocate of Active Defence (Hope & Hynes 2011).

If and when the witness decides to report, a tortuous process often follows during which they travel a Criminal Justice ‘conveyor belt’ that does little to support their forensic recall of events, indeed sets them up for failure when under cross examination by a skilled advocate of active defence (Hope & Hynes 2011).

A team of forensic psychology academics and practitioners from Intersol researched, developed, piloted, and rolled-out a procedure called the ‘Self-Administered Interview (SAI). The SAI is a powerful investigative tool that is used to elicit comprehensive initial statements, quickly and efficiently. It takes the form a booklet that includes a standardised protocol of clear instructions and questions that enable witnesses to provide their own written statement (this may include sketches and any other evidence). The SAI has been proven to enhance and inoculate memory from external influence, and ‘cold-storing’ the detail until it’s needed. The SAI is ideal for use when a traditional interview is not immediately possible.

The case of Lady A demonstrates the use of the SAI, see attached case study – IT IS REAL – and if you’d like to know more please contact the team at Intersol Global ( Similarly if you’ve any contacts in Government, Health, of the 3rd Sector who might benefit from this scientifically proved product please refer them to us.

Case Study: SAI Case Study


CSE – Sex for Food – UN knew of sex-for-food scandal at top charities.

“More than a dozen international aid organisations are implicated in a sex-for-food scandal documented by an official United Nations report that has never been published.

The Times has obtained a copy of the 84-page document produced by research teams working in west Africa for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Save the Children in 2001. It identified more than 40 aid organisations “whose workers are alleged to be in sexually exploitative relationships with refugee children”.

Many were small local charities but the list included 15 international organisations including the UNHCR and the World Food Programme and the British charities Save the Children and Merlin. International NGOs including Médecins Sans Frontières, Care International, the International Rescue Committee, the International Federation of Red Cross Societies and the Norwegian Refugee Council were also named in the report.

The Commons international development committee also has the report and has put it at the centre of its inquiry into sexual exploitation in the humanitarian sector. The investigation was set up after The Times reported in February on the use of prostitutes by Oxfam workers in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Pauline Latham, a Conservative MP and member of the committee, said that the document, which was submitted to UNHCR management in 2002, was “very important to our inquiry because it shows the aid sector has had problems for many years but has failed to sort itself out and now is the time for renewal and reform”.

Full article in The Times here:

Intersol Comment

It’d be great to know more about the investigative competencies of those enquiring into this scandal. A big claim by The Times that they have obtained a copy of a report that has never been published – it’s on the internet? View it here: Report of Assessment Mission

Anybody investigating this type of offending and misconduct MUST be accredited to interview these witnesses. A ‘MUST’ have, NOT a ‘nice to have’! Contact to explore how we can help.


Managing Workplace Conversations – Intersol accredit the accreditors!

Skillsfirst Awards are delighted to get requests and referrals from new and existing clients wanting us to support the development of qualifications, especially for niche markets.

Here Mick Confrey, COO Intersol Global, explains how our two organisations have worked together to develop the IIC3 Level 3 Certificate in Investigative Interviewing (RQF), the first of it’s kind!

Together, Intersol Global and Skillsfirst Awards developed the first qualification of its kind, the IIC3 Level 3 Certificate in Investigative Interviewing (RQF).

The qualification is built of two units:

  • Understanding Investigative Interviewing and,
  • Gathering Information and Evidence Using Investigative Interviewing.

“Having developed the qualification, Intersol Global further worked with Skillsfirst to proudly become a Recognised Centre.”

In response to demand from customers we have also now been approved for CPD points so for those organisations recognising CPD it’s a “win-win”.

If you’re investing in training and development of your staff ensure that what you receive is relevant, and externally accredited and delivered by subject matter experts with currency.


Rape Victims Routinely Set Up To Fail

“Why do the police spend so much time and resources setting victims up to fail?” (Professor of forensic psychology)

“As a defence lawyer a primary objective is to rigorously test and challenge witness credibility” (UK QC)

A decade ago I embarked on a journey to improve the standard of investigation for survivors of Rape and Serious Sexual Assaults.


Because those standards were inconsistent, a post-code lottery, too often incompetent, and led directly to tragic loss of life and ruination families. Moreso, as ‘contact offences’ they are all ‘theoretically’ detectable given competence and tactical use of evidence throughout the case management process.

During this ‘journey’ I was able to ‘forensically’ review the case management of many hundreds of such investigations, every stage exposed and subject to rigorous scrutiny, in 48 specific cases the reviews were supported by a senior investigation officer and a lead specialist CPS lawyer.

The outcomes were largely unappreciated, ignored, or not understood by decision-makers and influencers.

One output was the dissection of the process a complainant follows having decided to make a report to the police when considered against the fragility of memory and the concept of ‘memory as a crime scene’. That process is captured in the following images which are extracted from a presentation ‘Memory as a Crime Scene” that I’ll try to embed later in this article:


The diagrams were a crude attempt to illustrate the business process stages that, believe it or not, a complainant was likely to endure and the contamination of memory that inevitably ensues and prompted the observation by a leading forensic psychology professor at the head of this article: “Why do the police spend so much time and resources setting victims up to fail?” The impact of this concept should be considered alongside that of ‘Active Defence’ which links directly to the defence lawyers primary responsibility to rigorously test and challenge witness credibility.

How topical as we daily witness one collapsing prosecution after another.

One clear ‘action’ was to try and reduce the number of process stages thereby reducing that contamination.

One response? Create a Serious Sexual Offence Investigation Unit and staff it primarily with uniform/response officers with little, if any, investigative experience or competence, and set them unrealistic and unachievable objectives!

A less obvious outcome led me to the concept of the early ‘cold-storing’ of witness testimony in those cases which were self-referred to Sexual Offence Referral Centres (SARCS) but NOT reported to the police, by far the majority. and amounting to thousands nationally. Just as physical exhibits are taken and stored in the event a complainant changes their mind or simply needs a few days to think things through.

The solution? Digitally record the ‘first account’, as ‘forensically’ uncontaminated as possible, probe and clarify as appropriate, and ‘cold-store’ alongside the DNA swabs and other physical exhibits. At least offer a Self Administered Interview (SAI) if appropriate (another topic!)

Please don’t get me going with the argument that Forensic Medical Examiners (FMEs) take written notes, not worth the paper they’re written on but that’s another post!

Conscious of content the bottom line:

Inertia and inaction despite every effort to engage decision-makers and not one response to repeated approaches to central government or those purporting to represent the best interests of victims.

So what drives this post and article?

Simple, too many destroyed lives and futures and waking up to this report today on a current rape trial:

“Frank O’Donoghue, QC, for Mr Olding, referring to notes taken by professionals at a rape crisis centre hours after the attack, asked why she had provided an “utterly inconsistent” account of events. The woman replied: “I think you are underestimating the state of shock after you have been raped.” (Times 08/02/18).

I conclude where I started:

“Why do the police spend so much time and resources setting victims up to fail?” (Professor of forensic psychology), and

“As a defence lawyer a primary objective is to rigorously test and challenge witness credibility” (UK QC)

If any reader feels able to forward to someone who can influence policy or is interested in knowing more about the issues and outcomes do feel free to contact me. I will try and attach the full presentation which includes some useful tips on memory, investigation, and interviewing.

Managing Investigation Meetings – Workshops

Intersol are delighted to host a series of ‘open’ 2-day workshops at their new in-house training venue in South Manchester. Designed specifically with SMEs, sole traders, and individuals in mind these workshops are an ideal introduction into the world of workplace investigation and fact-finding interviews, enabling you to manage those difficult conversations and meetings more effectively, confidently, and productively.

Attracting meaningful accreditation and a platform to a level 3 OFQUAL regulated award see the following link on the Intersol Utube channel for more detail : 


Capacity in the Family Court: difficult decisions

Capacity in the context of family proceedings raises some complex issues – this seminar explores these with some case studies covering basic principles and how these are applied.

On behalf of a valued associate see here for more details and booking arrangements: Capacity Flyer 8mar18 (1)

Investigative Interviewing – Level 3 Accreditation – Unit 1


Now that they’ve moved into their new Head Office in South Manchester, recognising that many institutions have neither the capacity or resilience of larger ‘entities’, and responding to widespread demand, Intersol are able to offer Unit 1 of this unique qualification to a wider audience and certificate an understanding of the principles of fact-finding investigative interviews. This unit can be ‘banked’ for 6 months and complemented by Unit 2 (a further 2 days) to achieve the full level 3 accreditation.

Delivered onsite at our offices within DeVere Cheadle House, this presents a great opportunity to work with and learn from the worlds foremost subject matter experts, share experiences, and network with like-minded professionals, enabling you to be better placed to handle those difficult fact-finding workplace interviews and meetings.

Unlike others we are not simply a training company; yes we train, coach, and develop, but significantly ALL our team are current practitioners who maintain relevancy and competency. At Intersol we train it, advise on it, and deliver it.

If you or any member of your team partake in meetings or conversations that can be difficult, challenging or awkward, and need to be ‘managed’; or your decisions rely on fact, detail, and accuracy then this course is a ‘must have’ for you.

Effective workplace meetings and conversations (interviews) that are professionally conducted and quality assured secure clear business benefit and outcomes. They can:

  • Direct and inform organisational Governance, Regulation, and Compliance (GRC)
  • Protect your brand and reputation
  • Underpin your company values and culture
  • Provide internal reassurance, consistency, and confidence
  • Preserve stakeholder loyalty, improving performance
  • Identify, reduce, and manage risks
  • Increase revenue and reduce costs
  • Increase public confidence
  • Energise, motivate, and empower staff
  • Support industry standard leadership
  • Reassure the regulators and avoid sanctions

 Conversely, failure to quality assure and professionally undertake those meetings, can attract adverse consequence for your organisation, causing:

  • Loss of critical information and exposure to risk
  • Irreparable brand, institutional, and personal damage
  • Stakeholder disengagement
  • Increased expenditure on unnecessary meetings and interviews
  • Poor value and return on investment
  • Reinforcement of poor practice
  • Inefficient resource deployment
  • Lack of internal and external credibility and confidence
  • Failure to adhere to regulation
  • Regulatory or criminal sanction

 Fact-finding workplace meetings ARE investigative interviews they are a search for detail, accuracy, and checkable facts to best inform decision-makers.

Preferential rates for accommodation are offered for Intersol clients.

Information on detail, dates, venue etc can be found here: 2 Day Workshop flyer 

Remember: Train it, Advise it, Deliver it!

(Bookings are subject to minimum number of attendees. Intersol also work with clients ‘in house’ on a range of projects, contact for details).

North West based Intersol Global, design and deliver the worlds first accredited and regulated training to conduct workplace ‘investigative’ interviews.

Virgin trains east coast (VTEC), recognising the many business benefits for health and safety, HR, staff development, and reliable decision-making, worked with Intersol to contextualise course content and roll out the training to 15 staff as stage 1 of a broader strategic plan to better equip teams with the skills to conduct reliable and meaningful workplace meetings and enquiries – The first in the world to achieve the accreditation.

Intersol have since gone on to deliver the same accreditation to Pinsent Masons lawyers, supporting them to achieve another ‘world-first’ for corporate lawyers and set them apart from other law firms, and are looking forward to another ‘first’, delivering the qualification to UK Regulator throughout 2018.

Feedback from both was universally excellent. For examples see:

Workplace investigations change lives and effect reputation, don’t assume everyone can conduct them.

We work with HR, regulators, lawyers, financial services, GRC, education, and the third sector supporting them with investigation and interview training, advice, delivery of skills that ensure delivery of Extraordinary Case Management (ECM©).

If you or your company value informed business decision-making based on accuracy, fact, and detail, and would like to manage difficult conversations better please contact Intersol at for more details and an informal and discreet conversation.

Intersol CEO, Ian Hynes, a regular presenter to VTEC and IOSH health and safety conferences is pictured (right) together with Ian Prosser (HM Inspector of rail) and David Horne (VTEC MD) presenting delegates with accreditation certificates at VTECs annual safety conference in York.

Self Administered Interview (SAI) Tool. (SAW-IT)

Based on the Cognitive Interview (CI) and proven to improve memory, help minimise its contamination, and increase recall, the Self Administered Interview (SAI) was extensively researched by class-leading forensic psychologists and field tested and rolled out by Intersol practitioners.

Known more commonly as the ‘SAW-IT’ in the workplace health and safety environment, it is particularly useful when classifying and prioritising witnesses when interview/investigation resources are limited or time-bound.

The following video captures its application, benefit, and added value in the workplace and if you’d like to know more please contact

The tool works equally well in all languages, is now available online, and can be provided ‘free’ (subject to personalised design overheads). What is crucial is that those deploying and interpreting are trained to a minimum standard to underpin its application.


In it’s criminal investigation format its use is summed up in the following video:

Intersol CEO Presents at Rail Health and Safety Conference. (Paying for investigation training? – Don’t just certificate – accredit!)

Ian Hynes, CEO of Intersol Global, was delighted to be invited back to the annual rail health and safety conference hosted by IOSH. Presenting a workshop on the business benefits of managing difficult health and safety conversations in the industry the most rewarding accolade was that of a health and safety director who commented that he’d “learned more about investigation and investigative interviewing in this short workshop than over 25 years in the health and safety industry”. 

So what’s the difference? Simple – it’s our team that is ‘the difference that makes the difference’ . 

First and foremost, every team member, including board level, are world leading subject matter experts who ‘practice what they preach’. Vital to our success is currency, relevancy, and competency.

If you or your company is investing in investigation or interviewing training, strategy, or tactical advice, make sure it’s being delivered by competent expert practitioners. Consider asking 3 questions:

  1. When did ‘they’ last conduct a high-stakes investigation?
  2. When did ‘they’ last conduct a high-stakes investigative interview?
  3. Is your training regulated and accredited?

Incompetent investigation and investigative interviewing not only wastes money, it damages lives and reputations irretrievably.

If you’re paying for training – don’t just certificate – accredit!

Contact if you’d like to know more about managing difficult workplace conversations.