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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 18:30 GMT 19:30 UK
Police to use virtual ID parades
Identity parade video
The scheme will be rolled out across Scotland
Police forces in Scotland are to drop traditional line-ups in favour of a new "virtual" identity parade.

The Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording system (Viper) uses a national database of volunteers' images to compile a video line-up.

Police say this is more convenient and less stressful for victims and other witnesses than using real people.

They also hope the system - which will be launched in some areas this month - will speed up the justice system.

Suspects are filmed in the Viper video suite and appear in the parade on the screen alongside volunteers.

The system will be introduced in the Lothian and Borders and Grampian areas from early April and will then be rolled out to police forces across Scotland.

Lothian and Borders Police Assistant Chief Constable, Malcolm Dickson, who represents the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos), said the Viper system was a major step forward for the Scotland's criminal justice system.

Often identity parades can be quite traumatic events for vulnerable witnesses and victims but this new system will help lessen that fear and ensure they do not have to come face to face with the criminal
Chief Constable Malcolm Dickson
Lothian and Borders Police
He said: "Often identity parades can be quite traumatic events for vulnerable witnesses and victims but this new system will help lessen that fear and ensure they do not have to come face to face with the criminal.

"It also means valuable police time and resources will be saved through this use of modern technology with officers not having to comb the streets for suitable line up suspects.

"Viper is a fine example of Scottish police using the latest technology to help in the fight against crime as well as protecting vulnerable people at the same time."

He said it showed the excellent working partnership that exists between the police, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

Solicitor General Elish Angiolini QC, who was present at the demonstration in Edinburgh, said: "Viper is an excellent example of modernisation improving the service delivered to victims and witnesses. Old-style identification parades could be distressing for victims and witnesses and difficult to arrange quickly.

"New and innovative approaches such as this deliver a better service for the public, as well as benefiting the criminal justice system as a whole."

Viper was developed by West Yorkshire Police and is now widely in use in England and Wales, replacing real ID parades in most cases.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Gavin Walker
"Witnesses would watch video clips of the suspect and selected volunteers"



SEE ALSO:
Police switch to video line-up
10 Sep 03  |  Northamptonshire
Police offer virtual ID parades
14 Mar 03  |  Technology


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