Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology

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Forensic psychology

7.3.2 How well did the police do?

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NARRATOR
By working solely from eyewitness accounts and positive identifications how close to the truth have they got?
DI BULLET
About two o'clock yesterday afternoon we got a cash in transit delivery PRP wholesale diamond merchants. We got three offenders, all wearing masks have approached the van and started to carry out the robbery. During the struggle the mask of offender number three is removed by the security guard and his face is seen by the witnesses and then Liz has taken a phone out to call the emergency services and it appears that panic set in. Offender number one has fired a shotgun into the air and grabbed hold of Liz trying to dissuade her from making the phone call. There is some suggestion that pliers are used to cut the chain or the box is stolen.
What appears to be the pre-planned escape vehicle, ad Audi in silver, screeches round the corner. Liz has been bundled into the car by offender number one, driven away with Liz. The two offenders we have in custody is the driver and the person who had the mask removed.
NARRATOR
The police have pieced together a pretty accurate account of events and they spotted the planted contamination but without any corroborative evidence to support Andrew's hunch. They failed to discover that one robber was a woman.
MULITPLE VOICES
Female.
Yeah.
It was definitely a female, wasn't it?
[Mumbling]
FEMALE
It's been excellent being able to compare all the information I've got in my head from the witnesses and actually see what they saw. And for me it's strikingly similar to the account I'd built up in my head.
DI BULLET
We were able to describe fairly accurately what occurred so it showed that the system works. They've done a good job. The witnesses have given us the detail in order to allow us to charge these two individuals with some very serious offences and without the witnesses we wouldn't be at this stage.
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Did you solve the crime or, like DI Bullet, did your investigation lead to identifying an innocent suspect?

Although we have written DI Bullet as somewhat of a caricature, his investigative approach of trying to find evidence that supports his initial conclusions and of using biased investigative techniques unfortunately has led to wrongful convictions in real life – as you saw in Week 1 when looking at the Innocence Project. DS Sund’s investigation was a lot more accurate and did lead to identifying the correct suspects – and has hopefully demonstrated to you that developing investigative techniques that avoid leading questions and bias identification parades can have a very positive effect indeed.

Once the staged crime had finished, The Greater Manchester Police (who kindly volunteered to take part) were called in to investigate it. The only evidence they had access to was that which they could gather from the eyewitnesses. Unlike you, DI Bullet and DS Sund, they did have access to more than just two witnesses, do you think this would have made their jobs easier or harder?

FPSY_1

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