Tags: Law Enforcement | good cop | bad cop | law enforcement

What Does 'Good Cop, Bad Cop' Phrase Mean?

By    |   Friday, 12 June 2015 11:22 AM

“Ah, the good cop, bad cop routine?” The Joker asked Lt. James Gordon during his interrogation in the 2008 film, The Dark Night.

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The ‘good cop bad cop’ phrase has been used in films and entertainment productions to reference a commonly seen on TV police interrogation technique in which one cop appears to side with a criminal and another remains firm and uncompromising.

The phrase, however, holds meaning in the real world as well. ‘Good cop bad cop’ is actually a common interrogation technique used by police forces when questioning a suspected criminal.

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During a ‘good cop bad cop’ technique, a suspected criminal is first presented with a hardliner cop who creates a situation that makes it clear to the individual that sentencing is not going to go in their favor. The ‘bad cop’s’ main objective is to force a confession from the suspect.

It is only if the ‘bad cop’ cannot coerce a confession from the suspect that the ‘good cop’ is brought in.

The ‘good cop’ expels a sense of compassion and understanding towards the suspect so that the individual may cooperate in the hopes of getting a lighter sentence, or even just in an attempt to forge an alliance with someone in the criminal process.

The ‘good cop’ attempts to diminish the suspect’s fear of the penal system so to make confessing easier.

‘Good cop bad cop’ techniques are often more effective on first-time suspects who are not familiar with police interrogation techniques.

Likewise, many of the ‘good cop bad cop’ interrogations seen on TV and in action films can be not legal in the real world. Police may not threaten suspects with violence or actually use violence in an interrogation.

Additionally, an officer cannot threaten to deprive a suspect of their constitutional rights to a trial and representation.

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“Ah, the good cop, bad cop routine?” The Joker asked Lt. James Gordon during his interrogation in the 2008 film, The Dark Night.
good cop, bad cop, law enforcement
Friday, 12 June 2015 11:22 AM
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