A survey of police eyewitness identification procedures
Bertrand, Michelle I.
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Canadian (N = 117) and U.S. officers (N = 167) completed an online survey regarding their eyewitness identification procedures. Chapter 2 compared current procedures with each country’s respective policy recommendations. In some cases, policy recommendations were the same. In other cases they were different. Hypotheses were that where recommendations were the same, no between-country differences would be observed, and that where recommendations were different, between-country differences would be observed in line with recommended procedures. Partial support for these hypotheses was found indicating that policies had some impact on procedures. Chapters 3 and 4 examined lineup construction and administration practices (respectively). Some reported practices are of concern since research demonstrates they may reduce witness accuracy, though caution is necessary in interpreting why certain practices may or may not be used as there are many possible reasons. One of the most marked findings across all chapters was the great variability found in procedure both within and between countries, demonstrating that ‘typical’ police procedures vary considerably. Major recommendations include policy mandates in order to achieve procedure consistent with best-practice recommendations, as well as provision of training materials in order to achieve such consistency. This survey provides a needed update in the literature regarding current police practices and offers a rich data source to help stimulate further research in the field.