The behaviour of witnesses viewing VIPER Parades: evidence from a Scottish survey.

Havard, Catriona; Chaudhry, Fraz and Memon, Amina (2008). The behaviour of witnesses viewing VIPER Parades: evidence from a Scottish survey. In: 2nd Scottish Institute of Policing Research (SIPR) Annual Conference, 2 Sep 2008, Edinburgh, UK.


At the beginning of the year, a questionnaire for Video Identification Procedure Electronic Recording (VIPER) operators was distributed to all the Scottish Police Forces. This is the first archival analysis to be undertaken on VIPER parades and the results from the survey will provide officers with valuable information on the usefulness of VIPER for obtaining evidence from witnesses. The survey is nearly half way through and over one thousand completed questionnaires have been collected so far. The questionnaire focused on the demographics of the witnesses, suspects and also the behaviour of the witnesses’ whilst viewing VIPER parades. The questionnaires obtained so far have revealed that half of witnesses were male and the majority were under the age of 35, with over a third being vulnerable witnesses. When it came to suspects, the majority were male and also under the age of 35. The crimes that appeared to be the most common for suspects in the VIPER parades were crimes of violence. When viewing the VIPER lineups the majority of witnesses made a positive identification, that is picking out the suspect. In the analysis of witnesses behaviour whilst viewing the parade, the majority of witnesses appeared calm before viewing the parade, during the viewing and afterwards. The results obtained so far appear to show that the VIPER parades are a good medium for allowing witnesses to identify a suspect without the emotional stress of facing an accused in a live setting.

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