Identification on the street: a field comparison of police street identifications and video line-ups in England
Davis, Josh P.; Valentine, Tim; Memon, Amina and Roberts, Andrew J.. 2015. Identification on the street: a field comparison of police street identifications and video line-ups in England. Psychology, Crime and Law, 21(1), pp. 1-19. ISSN 1068-316X [Article]
Abstract or Description
A street identification or live show-up 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 line-up 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 line-ups (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 line-up. Across both studies, most (84%) suspects identified in the street were subsequently identified in a video line-up, 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.