Police could go on hypnosis courses to learn interrogation techniques

Police officers could be sent on hypnosis courses to help them learn how to better interrogate suspects.

Officers will be able to attend a course run by Tom Silver, a hypnotherapist who regularly appears on American TV chat shows, where they can watch hypnotherapy sessions and be given an introduction to electroencephalography – a process used to study electrical activity in the brain.

Officers will be given the opportunity to attend a free one-day taster session with Silver before deciding whether to sign up for his six-day course, costing £1,500 each.

Silver will run the course at the University of Chester next summer. The course is being organised by constable Mark Hughes, an investigative skills trainer with Cheshire Constabulary.

Hughes told Police Review: “Putting people in a receptive brainwave state makes it likelier that the truth would come out.

“Forensic hypnosis does not prove guilt, but it can give new lines of inquiry when traditional methods have failed. For me it is the next logical step for investigators to take. It is the next frontier.”

But the move has been criticised by officers who said the use of hypnotherapy techniques would never stand up in court.

One Met Police officer said: “Can you imagine the trouble we’d have in court when we told a judge we hypnotised a suspect? The case would be thrown out.

“It might be OK for American chat shows, but it’s not appropriate for British policing.”

A spokesman for Cheshire police said: “Cheshire Constabulary do not utilise any form of hypnosis techniques. The views expressed in the Police Review are the personal views of PC Mark Hughes and not the view of the Cheshire Constabulary. Furthermore, the training is not funded by Cheshire Constabulary.”

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