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
Date Written: March 7, 2012
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
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