Witness Advice

If you have been a victim of a crime or have seen the face of someone committing an offence then you may be asked to view a Video Identification Parade.

A Video Identification Parade is a short film which is viewed on a television screen or on a laptop computer. The film is approximately 3 minutes in length and contains a series of head and shoulder video clips. These video clips are made up of the person the Police believe committed an offence and a number of volunteer images who have a similar appearance to the suspect.

Each person on the parade appears in front of a grey background. Under normal circumstances each person turns their head from left to right in the same manner so that no one stands out for any reason other than their appearance. On some occasions a special treatment may be applied to these images to disguise or replicate an identifiable feature. For example, a mosaic may be placed over an area of the face or neck to obscure a feature. This will be applied to every person in the parade to ensure the parade is fair. Alternatively, in some cases features from the suspect such as tattoos and scars may be replicated onto each volunteer image in a similar manner.

In England and Wales a video identification parade normally consists of nine moving images. This includes the suspect and eight people with a similar appearance as outlined by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. Whereas in Scotland, the Lord Advocate’s Guidelines only require as few as five people with a similar appearance.