The Visual Identification of Suspects: Procedures and Practice

Pike, Graham; Brace, Nicola and Kynan, Sally (2002). The Visual Identification of Suspects: Procedures and Practice. Home Office, A Publication of the Policing and Reducing Crime Unit Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.



Visual identification plays an important part in the investigation and detection of many crimes. According to Coupe and Griffiths (1996), a suspect description was used as a source of evidence in 43% of ‘primary detected’ burglary cases. In inter-personal crimes such as robbery, violence and sexual offences, eye-witness information is critical to the apprehension of a suspect and subsequent prosecution (Phillips and Brown, 1998). The process by which a witness’s identification of a suspect is established plays an important part in the criminal justice process. At present, live identification parades are the main way this information is tested prior to court, although running parades can be problematic and time consuming (PA Consulting, 2001). The current study aimed to:
● identify the key obstacles to the timely and effective post-arrest identification of suspects; and
● identify examples of good practice or changes to policy and practice which might overcome some of these obstacles.
While much of the data covers a range of crime types, the research has a particular emphasis on post arrest identification procedures in robbery cases.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions