The National Police Agency announced last week that police investigators electronically recorded the entire interrogation process in 33 cases in fiscal 2013. This is the first time that police interrogation of criminal suspects has been electronically recorded in its entirety and in that sense represents progress. The police must make serious efforts to expand the scope of such recordings to enhance the transparency of their interrogation process. Doing so will help avoid false confessions and make their cases more credible.

Of the 33 cases, 29 were cases subject to lay judge trials in which ordinary citizens sit with professional judges. The remaining four were cases in which suspects were mentally handicapped.

Serious crimes including murder, burglary resulting in death, arson and rape are handled in lay judge trials. In fiscal 2013, the police dealt with 3,315 crimes to be handled by lay judge trials. This means that the police interrogation process was electronically recorded in its entirety in only 0.87 percent of the cases for lay judge trials.