Suspect Video ID System to be Operational by August


The new video identification (ID) system, which will replace the conventional line-up of suspects, is on schedule to be in operation by the end of August.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Les Green, speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, said that plans are far advanced to start the process and already, three locations have been selected for the video identification system to be utilized. The sites are Linstead, St. Catherine; Kingston Central; and in Westmoreland to serve the western end.
“I think at the moment we are looking at the end of August for it to be able to run on at least two sites,” he informed. “We are currently obtaining the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) equipment for the rooms we will be using them in and that’s not available just now, so all that equipment will certainly be up and running by the [end of] summer,” he added.
The Assistant Commissioner, who heads the Serious and Organized Crime Branch, told JIS News that the new video ID system, which will utilize digital images, will erase the intimidation faced by witnesses, who have to identify suspects from conventional line ups. “We used prisoners to form the conventional line-ups and we carry the witness to the line up.but we have had a lot of intimidation of witnesses because outside the police station, everyone knows when a parade will be held. The suspects have been told, the attorneys are present and all their family and friends arrive and stand outside so this makes it very difficult,” ACP Green pointed out.
He explained that with the new video identification process “we will invite the suspects to allow us to record their images on about a 12-second clip. They (suspects) are shown looking into the camera, their left and right profiles given, and this is recorded, then from the database, we use their descriptive features and we bring up the other images we have.”The images will be saved onto a compact disc in the presence of the suspect’s attorney and will only be opened when the attorney is present and the image is ready to be shown to the witness.
ACP Green told JIS News that there are more than 20,000 images on the database, but more will be added. “We will be adding more images because we will be asking Jamaicans to volunteer to sell their image into the database and we will then compile the suspect’s picture with eight other images, which look similar to the suspect,” he informed.
According to the Assistant Commissioner, the video identification system is flexible in that it can be used in any of the identified locations, taken to witnesses in hospitals or even replayed for jurors because all of the witnesses’ reactions will be recorded.
While noting that the system is not perfect, ACP Green said it is being used in London, where it has a good pick out rate. “It’s not perfect. The system is like all technology or all processes and has its limitations. However, in London, they have been using the system now for about five years. They do 10,000 parades a year and they have never used a conventional line-up since they started using the system and they have a very good pick-out rate of potential suspects, so the system seems to work very well,” he noted.
In the meantime, ACP told JIS News that procedures related to identification parades need to be upgraded. “We also need to just upgrade the procedures that we have for identification parades, because at the moment, we haven’t got the guidelines published by the Attorney General and that is now being submitted to the Attorney General for them to be published,” he stated.

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