BBC / UK
Police forces in Scotland are to drop traditional line-ups in favour
of a new "virtual" identity parade.
The new will be
rolled out across Scotland
The Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording system (Viper)
uses a national database of volunteers' images to compile a video
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
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.
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
"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
Viper was developed by West Yorkshire Police and is now widely in use
in England and Wales, replacing real ID parades in most cases.