Identification on the Street: A Field Comparison of Police Street Identifications and Video Lineups in England

21 Psychology, Crime, and Law, 9-27, 2015

26 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2015

See all articles by Josh Davis

Josh Davis

University of Greenwich

Tim Valentine

University of London - Goldsmiths College

Amina Memon

University of London - Royal Holloway College

Andrew J. Roberts

Melbourne Law School

Date Written: March 7, 2012

Abstract

A street identification or live showup provides an eyewitness with an opportunity to identify a suspect shortly after a crime. In England, the majority of suspects identified are subsequently included in a video lineup for the same witness to view. In Study 1, robbery squad data from three English police forces recorded 696 crimes, the identification procedures employed and prosecution decisions. A street identification was the most frequent identification procedure, being attempted in 22.7% of investigations, followed by mugshot albums (11.2%) and video lineups (3.4%). In Study 2, data of 59 crimes were collected in which suspects, identified in a street identification, were subsequently filmed for a video lineup. Across both studies, most (84%) suspects identified in the street were subsequently identified in a video lineup, indicative of a commitment effect, in which a witness conforms to their first identification decision. All suspects identified in two procedures were eventually cautioned or charged to appear in court. The ground truth of suspect guilt in these field data cannot be determined. However, suggestions are made for reducing the likelihood of a mistaken identification of an innocent suspect caught up in an investigation; all possible steps should be taken to reduce the inherent suggestiveness of the street identification procedure.

Keywords: Showup, eyewitness identification, face recognition, evidence, lineup

Suggested Citation

Davis, Josh and Valentine, Tim and Memon, Amina and Roberts, Andrew J., Identification on the Street: A Field Comparison of Police Street Identifications and Video Lineups in England (March 7, 2012). 21 Psychology, Crime, and Law, 9-27, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706481

Josh Davis

University of Greenwich

30 Park Row
Greenwich
London, SE10 9LS
United Kingdom

Tim Valentine

University of London - Goldsmiths College

Lewisham Way
New Cross, SE14 6NW
United Kingdom

Amina Memon

University of London - Royal Holloway College

Senate House
Malet Street
London, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

Andrew J. Roberts (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton
Victoria, 3052
Australia

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