ear witness protocol (840A/23)
I would like to request any information you may have regarding earwitness testimony protocols within your police force.
An earwitness testimony refers to a statement or account provided by an individual who claims to have heard or overheard a particular event or conversation. It is like an eyewitness testimony but specifically focuses on what someone heard rather than what they saw. Earwitness testimonies can be crucial in legal proceedings, such as criminal investigations or trials, where they may provide important information or evidence regarding an incident, or the identification of individuals involved. However, like eyewitness testimonies, earwitness testimonies can be subject to limitations, biases, and inaccuracies, and their reliability may vary depending on various factors such as the conditions of the event, the memory and perception abilities of the witness, the way in which the information is collected by a police officer and other contextual factors.
The research I am carrying out will hopefully clarify what protocols (if any) are currently being used in the UK for earwitness testimonies. This will help me to establish whether there is a need to develop an earwitness ‘tool’ which could potentially be a more accurate way of documenting this information. The first step we are currently in the process of developing is a pitch slider, then we hope to add further vocal characteristics. The aim is to make this tool as accurate as possible, and as user-friendly and efficient as possible for police officers and lay-people to use.
Therefore, I would like you to answer the following questions and please provide as much detail as possible. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
1) Does the police force have any in-house or nationwide protocols at present for eliciting earwitness testimonies? If yes, what document, guidelines or tools are used?
2) What training is in place for how police officers conduct an initial account from a victim/witness when taking an earwitness testimony?
3) How many cases in the past year have involved earwitness evidence?
Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).
We have been to the departments deemed best to assist and they have no information held.
I am unable to suggest any practical way in which your request may be modified in order to satisfy your query or bring it within the 18 hours stipulated by the Regulations. I am however willing to consider any refinements that you are able to make to your request, in accordance with Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act. If you would like to look into refining your request please contact me.
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