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.
Professor Tim Valentine is an expert in facial identification by
eyewitnesses. His research has proved that video lineups provide more
reliable evidence than live lineups. It has contributed to changes in the
legal code of practice for eyewitness identification. He has trained
hundreds of police officers and lawyers in the problems of witness
identification, and acted as an expert witness in criminal cases.
High-profile cases include Abdel Basset al-Megrahi (the Lockerbie bomber),
Barry George (wrongly convicted of Jill Dando's murder) and Omar Deghayes,
a British resident detained in Guantanamo Bay.
Changes to the law in the early 1990s removed the need for corroborating
or physical evidence in abuse cases and allowed videotaped evidence of a
child or other vulnerable witnesses to be used in a criminal court. This
necessitated the drawing up of guidance to help police officers and other
judicial practitioners, gather crucial evidence while minimising
unintentional influence. Research at Leicester has underpinned work to
assess and improve the effectiveness of this guidance and to create a
framework of procedural best practice. This has influenced and directed
the formation of protocols and training development of practitioners for
uniform, fair and reliable investigative interviewing of vulnerable
witnesses and for accurate identification and interrogative interviewing
of suspects in the UK and through the sharing of best practice, across the
UK and internationally.
Researchers at Abertay University are engaged in research that focuses on
developing and testing evidence-based procedures that inform and enhance
policing procedures surrounding evidence gathering. One particularly
successful line of research has produced an innovative investigative tool
called the `Self Administered Interview' (SAI©) that is proven to enhance
witness statements and protect memory. The SAI© was developed and tested
in a series of controlled lab-based studies at UAD, and later field-tested
with eyewitnesses to real crimes with the support of the Association of
Chief Police Officers. The SAI© is already standard police practice in
some UK and European forces with over 2,500 officers trained in its use.
It has also been used in major Health and Safety investigations in the
off-shore Oil and Gas industry.
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.
This research, which examines police investigatory methods to identify police suspects has directly
increased suspect identification rates by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). It led to the MPS
establishing a register of `super-recognisers' - officers particularly skilled at identifying faces from
CCTV footage - and changed practices. Dissemination of the research, also well-publicised in the
media, has influenced national policy makers. There is worldwide interest and secured European
funding for a test to identify super-recognisers amongst police cohorts. The research is also
improving recognition of EFIT-V images, the facial composite system used by most UK police
forces. Dr Davis is disseminating his findings through the training course that operators have to
complete to be certified to produce composites in real police investigations. He is also contributing
to economic impact by enhancing the EFIT-V product.
The University of Portsmouth research into effective use of the Cognitive
Interview (CI) by police forces in the UK and overseas has led to
recommendations for changes to training of police officers in this field
throughout their careers being adopted in several countries across the
world. The work, led by Dr Becky Milne, has also been used to inform the
decision making processes of a variety of national policy reviews and
professional bodies. Research has improved the standard of interviewing,
particularly for sensitive investigations such as rape and child abuse.
The innovative Cognitive Load (CL) technique, based on cognitive theory,
yields significantly superior lie detection results by capitalising on the
fact that interviews can be devised that are more difficult for liars than
truth-tellers. This CL technique, pioneered by Vrij, is used for ethical
information-gathering interviewing and undercover and interrogation
purposes by police, military and intelligence agencies worldwide. Training
of these law enforcement professionals as a result of our research has
been implemented. An insurance company has adopted a revised protocol as a
result of applying our research and has implemented an industry-leading
product for reducing fraudulent insurance claims.
Frowd's research aims to understand the extent to which witnesses and
victims of crime construct accurate facial composites (pictures of
criminal's faces), and to develop techniques which maximize the
effectiveness of composites, thus allowing the police to identify as many
offenders as possible using this type of forensic evidence. The principal
impact involves a software system (EvoFIT), a new interview
(Holistic-Cognitive Interview, H-CI) and two formats (animated caricature
and stretched composite) for the police to publish composites in the
media. In the audit period, these advancements have been used by police
forces in the UK, US, Romania and Israel.