In many jurisdictions, law enforcement officers are permitted to discuss their recall of an incident when preparing their official statement. This practice has been criticized on the grounds that it lacks transparency and may produce inaccurate corroborative accounts. In the current study, 300 armed officers took part in an interactive staged crime scenario and were permitted to confer (or not) while writing statements. Alternative procedures for statement production by teams were also evaluated. Some officers also provided an independent statement prior to conferring while others were provided with retrieval support instructions. Although errors were transmitted during discussions, conferring had no overall impact on the accuracy or content of final statements. However, officers who wrote an initial independent statement did not incorporate any errors obtained from colleagues into their final accounts. Conferring officers expressed greater confidence in the accuracy of their accounts than nonconferring officers despite no differences in accuracy.
Hope, L., Gabbert, F., & Fraser, J. (2013). Postincident conferring by law enforcement officers: determining the impact of team discussions on statement content, accuracy, and officer beliefs. Law and Human Behavior, 37(2), 117-127. https://doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000019