Opening a national centre for the Viper (Video Identification Parade and Electronic Recording) system last week, home secretary David Blunkett said, "This video identification scheme is a superb example of how technology can successfully update traditional policing methods."
Based in Wakefield, the Viper Bureau contains a national database of thousands of video images that can be used by officers to create a virtual ID parade.
Police stations can now send a picture of a suspect to the bureau, where a digital identification parade is created and then sent back to the station. This can then be saved in DVD format and shown to the witness.
The Viper system can reduce the cost of staging an ID parade from between £800 to £1,200 for a live parade to just £150 for a virtual one.
Cable & Wireless is supplying the high-speed network to support the Viper system.