The development of a robust criminal justice system is vital in any
civilised society and benefits
victims, witnesses, police, suspects, and the general public. Research in
the Department of
Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London has investigated
underlying memory retrieval in the context of criminal justice scenarios
in which memory may be
particularly vulnerable. This research has had major impacts on the way in
which police interview
witnesses to a crime, and on the way in which video identification parades
are conducted. It has
also led indirectly to significant developments in the way in which
evidence from very young
children is treated in court.
The Self-Administered Interview (SAI©) is a powerful evidence-based
investigative interviewing tool designed to elicit comprehensive initial
statements from multiple witnesses and victims, particularly in time- and
resource-critical situations. Developed in the laboratory and tested in
the field, the research underpinning the SAI© has resulted in changes in
policy, professional practice and training activities within police forces
internationally. Operationally, the SAI© has contributed to the
investigation of major criminal incidents enabling investigators to
collect information from witnesses in challenging situations. The SAI© has
elicited critical leads and compelling evidence for Court proceedings —
indicating public benefit arising from service improvements.
Dr Kneller's research on cognitive performance under challenging
circumstances demonstrates impact in two areas:
1) Informing practice in diving. Kneller's research has demonstrated the
effects of nitrogen narcosis on memory, and how anxiety may compound its
severity. This has implications for recreational, commercial and military
diving and has been recognized by diving industry sources.
2) Improving eyewitness identification within the context of crimes.
Kneller's research has informed practice in the process of eyewitness
identification for victims of crime. Her findings have impacted on
policing practice in terms of how suspect line-ups are conducted and her
expertise recognized within practitioner circles.