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