Characteristics of eyewitness identification that predict the outcome of real lineups



Data were analysed from 640 attempts by eyewitnesses to identify the alleged culprit in 314 lineups organized by the Metropolitan Police in London. Characteristics of the witness, the suspect, the witness's opportunity to view the culprit, the crime and the lineup were recorded. Data analysis, using mixed effects multinomial logistic regression, revealed that the suspect was more likely to be identified if the witness is younger than 30, the suspect is a white European (rather than African-Caribbean), the witness gave a detailed description, viewed the culprit for over a minute and made a fast decision at the lineup. None of the explanatory variables were significantly associated with a mistaken identification of a foil. No independent, statistically reliable effects of weapon focus, cross-race identification, or of the delay before the identification attempt were observed. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.