A primer offers basic principles of investigation.
Anim-Danquah (Principles of Interrogation, 2013) cautions readers that since the stakes are so high, an investigator can never be too meticulous. His brief but comprehensive survey is broadly conceived to cover “training material for all levels in all Security Services and Intelligence Agencies but equally a very good source of reference after formal training or during professional practice.” The author proceeds systematically, discussing the chief elements of the various kinds of investigation, the basic considerations of interrogation, and the types of evidence and the methods of gathering it. In addition, he analyzes in considerable detail the kinds of modus operandi: 23 different factors that in their totality define any “particular criminal activity or offence.” He devotes an unusual amount of attention to the filling out of reports and the distinction between various types, and he includes samples. This is especially peculiar since the author’s explanatory scope is so broad—it can’t possibly be the case that every investigator in every jurisdiction is confronted with the same forms. Equally puzzling is his protracted assessment of the various distractions that could stymie a successful investigation; for example, he warns against the deflection of one’s attention that could be caused by offensive odors. The book concludes with a series of helpful illustrative case studies that feature instructional questions. Anim-Danquah worked in investigations and intelligence for the government of Ghana for more than 20 years, and his thoroughness and rigor are clear expressions of that expertise. His primer is best used as a reference source—an encyclopedic catalog of all the basic ingredients of investigation, very generally understood. But it’s not an instructional guide in the sense of providing much actionable counsel—readers will learn much more about the various categories of evidence than its professional collection. In addition, the author too often dwells on points so common-sensical as to be banal. For example, it seems unnecessary to insist that aspiring investigators check their spelling on the reports they file.
An exhaustive account of investigation principles, more academic in conception than immediately practical.