Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire | WYPCC

Who are VIPER?

We at VIPER® are a small team who work for the Police & Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire.

What do we do?

We provide a service that produces video identification parades for police forces, including their UK military equivalents. As part of this service, we hold a collection of images which are used alongside images of suspects of crime in video identification parades. The images of suspects are recorded by users of the service. The other images we hold which are used as 'foils/stand-ins' in video identification parades are recorded by ourselves. Members of the public volunteer their time to be recorded by ourselves for this purpose and typically receive a small financial reward.

We provide this service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it has been proven to assist victims of crime, witnesses and suspects by ensuring video identification parades can take place in a fair and efficient manner.

Video identification parades are the modern replacement for a conventional line up of people often depicted within the media as an identification parade. In the UK, video identification parades have been used since 2002 as the primary method for a witness to identify a suspect of a crime. The system was designed by West Yorkshire Police in the late 1990's and is now under the control of the Police & Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire.

In a typical year, police forces which subscribe to the service ask for many thousands of parades to be produced to assist in their investigations. Video identification parades have been highly successful in providing an opportunity for witnesses to view an identification parade when compared to conventional methods from the past.

The service can only be provided to subscriber forces with the continued help of the public. Members of the public have supported VIPER® by volunteering to have their image recorded to act as a 'foil/stand-in' in video identification parades since the late 1990's. VIPER® continue to record members of the public to provide 'foils/stand-ins' to appear within video identification parades which represent a very broad range of appearances. The collection of images includes people of all genders and appearances across a large age range.

What information do we collect?

We ask members of the public to help us make video identification parades. They do this by volunteering to assist us by being video recorded as a 'foil/stand-in' within identification parades. At special events, we explain how people can help, what we need from them, what they can expect from us and what happens to their video recording. We collect:

  • The video image of the 'foil/stand-in'
  • The nationality stated by the 'foil/stand-in'
  • The age stated by the 'foil/stand-in'
  • The location, date and time of the recording
  • The value of the financial reward
  • Which operator carried out the recording
  • That the 'foil/stand-in' was provided the business card
  • The uniquely numbered business card associated with the 'foil/stand-in', which you will need to retain so that we can identify your recording

How is the information collected and used?

  • People help by sitting in our photo-booth whilst we record a 15 second video of them
  • We pay them a small amount of money for their time if their recording is suitable
  • We store the video recording and it is only used for VIPER®  video identification parades
  • It is very important to us that we do not record unnecessary personal information about you as we do not need it to produce video identification parades
  • Later, upon request from a police force, we combine video recordings of at least 8 'foils/stand-ins' with that of the person suspected of a crime
  • The whole video, including the 'foils/stand-ins' and the suspect, is shown to the victim/witness
  • The identity of the 'foils/stand-ins' can never be included in this video, only a number is shown on screen alongside the image of each person
  • If the victim/witness identifies a person on the video identification parade, they indicate which person this is by telling the police the number shown on screen
  • If the victim/witness picks a video recording of a 'foil/stand-in' then this is recorded as a negative outcome and the process is complete

What additional information did we collect prior to January 2015?

We collected the stated name, address and date of birth of 'foils/stand-ins' in order to comply with financial audit requirements at the time of the recordings. This information was recorded on a form and is retained by VIPER®. This practice stopped in January 2015, when we decided to reduce the amount of information collected from 'foils/stand-ins'. This followed a review of VIPER®processes and the introduction of uniquely numbered business cards to anonymise the process instead.

Management of the information

We may use the recordings of members of the public in multiple video identification parades until we believe the appearance of the person in the recording becomes 'out of date' compared to that of the typical suspects being sought by the police.

If you have been recorded as a 'foil/stand-in' by VIPER® and no longer want us to use your image in our future video identification parades please get in touch with the Data Protection Officer at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire ([email protected])If you were recorded after January 2015 then you will need the business card with the unique barcode reference that you were given at the time of your recording.

You can click this link for more information about us www.viper.police.uk.