Improving eyewitness testimony

by Laura Mickes and Travis Seale-Carlisle

Crime rates across the UK are on the rise with knife and acid attacks featured prominently and regularly in the news. Eyewitnesses can provide valuable evidence, but the way that evidence is collected and used needs much improvement. Psychology has had a lot to say about memory in general and the pitfalls of memory as an accurate recording of past experiences. Fortunately, the solutions are simple and inexpensive.

Eyewitnesses to crimes are often asked to try to identify the perpetrator out of an identity parade. They do not have to pick anyone, but if they did, the person is either a stooge (known innocents) or the suspect. If the suspect is picked, then that provides evidence against that person.

It’s good news if that person is guilty. But it’s bad news if that person is innocent. Continue reading

Guidelines for pedestrian crossing speeds may disadvantage older people

Elizabeth Webb

Elizabeth Webb is a lecturer in gerontology at the University of Southampton, a member of the ESRC’s International Centre for Lifecourse Studies and principal investigator of an ESRC grant to investigate causes and consequences of caregiving in later life. She has an interest in older people’s physical capability and use of transport.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is consulting on new draft guidelines on environmental changes which should be made to support people to be physically active. The consultation caught my eye, since it directly relates to some ESRC funded research I recently published with colleagues.

The draft NICE guidelines state that local authorities should ensure pedestrian crossings give people with limited mobility enough time to cross the road. This is a laudable aim, however I want to emphasise that the current guidelines for crossing speeds don’t just disadvantage people who would be thought of as having limited mobility, but a large majority of the UK’s older population.

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