The current investigative interviewing model for police officers in England and Wales recommends the use of the cognitive interview (CI). However, there is much to suggest that police officers do not regularly fully apply the procedure and that when they do, it is often poorly applied. Research has indicated that this is particularly the case with non-specialist police investigators who believe the CI is too cumbersome, complex and time consuming for the types of witness interviews they conduct. With this in mind the present study investigated a CI procedure that had been substantially modified in an attempt to enhance its forensic practicability while retaining the demonstrated superiority of the CI. Employing the mock witness paradigm, the modified procedure was compared to both the current CI model and a structured interview (SI). Results revealed that the modified CI was more effective than the SI, while being as effective as the current CI, despite being significantly shorter in duration and, we argue, less demanding for the interviewer. Hence, the proposed modified CI may well be an effective practical alternative for frontline investigators. Copyright # 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.