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Police plan to extend video line-up scheme

West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and his chief executive Fraser Sampson

West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and his chief executive Fraser Sampson

A ‘VIRTUAL identity parade’ service developed by West Yorkshire Police could be put into use around the UK and abroad as part of a raft of innovations bosses hope will counter a multi-million pound funding crisis.

The National VIPER Bureau, owned and managed by the force since 1997 and used by 30 others nationwide, has been hailed as a major improvement on the old-style ‘line-up’ for identifying suspects.

It allows victims to pick out the suspect against similar faces on a video ID parade using a selection from a database of 40,000 rather than go into a police station in person.

Forces around the country already use the service 30,000 times a year, but police commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson says there is “huge potential” to expand the service, “not only this country but abroad as well”. The scheme is one of several the force, which must make £150 million in cuts over five years, has in place to develop new sources of funding by developing cutting edge technology and promoting it elsewhere.

A new state-of-the-art training facility at Carr Gate, Wakefield, could become a ‘centre of excellence’ if agreement is reached with the College of Policing professional body.

And it has received European Union funding to develop two innovative policing schemes, one a smartphone ‘app’ for citizens caught up in a crisis abroad and another using social media to help combat radicalisation after a major incident.

 

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