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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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As a witness…

  • You will be required to attend at a police station in order to take part in the procedure.
  • The main method of identification used is video identification.
  • You will be shown a video, which contains images of several different people. You will be asked to identify the person you believe to be the suspect.
  • At no time during either procedure will you encounter the suspect.

As a suspect…

  • As a suspect you will receive notice of the identification procedure and will have been told which type of procedure is going to be used.
  • The main method of identification used is video identification. This is because it is easier and quicker than an identification parade.
  • If you refused all methods of identification, then this can be used in evidence at any possible trial. The police may also proceed covertly with the identification.
  • In video identification your image will be captured for a short time. This is then sent off to a central bureau to ensure it is of a necessary quality.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.