Interrogation is the professional police and military technique of interviewing people, often without their consent, in order to obtain information regarding crimes or military operations.
Interrogation may involve humiliation, intimidation and physical abuse to "soften up" the person interviewed.
A well-conducted interrogation is not torture, which in practice is widely known to be ineffective at producing reliable information. Prisoners of war routinely undergo interrogation, which the laws of war permit.
A typical interrogation involves three people:
The interviewer, who asks the questions, typically sits directly face-to-face with the interviewee (the person under interrogation), while the notetaker sits to the side of the interviewee (usually on the interviewee's right-hand side). The notetaker remains out of view of the interviewee and attempts to remain as silent and inconspicuous as possible.
The interviewer usually asks short open-ended questions and attempts to establish a friendly rapport with the interviewee, and speaks with a neutral and sympathetic voice. The notetaker watches the interaction between the interviewer and the interviewee, paying particular attention to behavior and body language.
One notable interrogation technique is the Reid technique.
Note that no prohibition forbids the interrogator from lying, from making misleading statements or from implying that the interviewee has already been implicated in the crime by someone else. Deception forms an important part of effective interrogation.
However, threats which the interrogator cannot actually carry out are generally ineffective unless the subject is young, inexperienced or terrified.
An important legal protection against interrogation in the United States of America is the right to remain silent and to demand the presence of a lawyer. (See also "Miranda warning".)
Interrogation methods used at Guantanamo Bay for illegal combatants could, with special approval, include sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of cold and heat, and placing prisoners in "stress positions" for agonizing lengths of time.