The National VIPER® Bureau


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The National VIPER® Bureau working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police


The National VIPER® Bureau is a bespoke video identification service owned and managed by The Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire which provides a range of identification related products and services to the police.

The system, originally developed by West Yorkshire Police, provides video identification parades as part of a fully managed and secure identification parade service. Customers include Forces within England and Wales together with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Police Scotland. Additional sites are operated by the Royal Military Police in Germany.

  • The service has been highly successful producing upwards of 20,000 identification parades a year, using specialist editing techniques and processes.
  • Communication within the UK is via the Public Service Network (PSN), allowing forces to work securely and collaboratively to identify suspects of crime.
  • VIPER® Users operate a simple software interface to record images, select volunteers to appear alongside the suspect and to request the parades to be viewed by witnesses.
  • Every image is quality controlled by VIPER® throughout the process, allowing Identification Officers the time to organise and conduct witness viewings in addition to providing case management.
  • The service includes a fully integrated training team to assist new Forces and their staff, whilst continuing to support and update its existing Users across the UK.
  • The service employs a dedicated team to record images of ‘volunteers’ for use in parades.
  • The images stored within the gallery reflect the diverse range of appearances found within the UK.
  • Where suspects with a unique appearance are required to be recorded, the team are able to replicate their features on to volunteer images upon request (in line with current legislation) to enable an identification  parade to take place, even in the most complex cases.

The VIPER® Service
The service has been highly successful since 1998/9 in UK courts due to its unique system design, quality assurance, adherence to best practice and compliance with national and international standards.
The service provides a 4 stage process which involves:

  • A quality check of each suspect clip (recorded by a Force local to the incident) ensures suspect recordings adhere to national image standards.
  • Access to a professionally managed gallery of images and a User friendly interface to help select volunteer images and request parades.
  • Preparation of video identification parades to meet the requirements of customers using specialist editing techniques.
  • The delivery, archiving and weeding of material for Users.

The delivery of parades and suspects is via the Public Service Network enabling parades to be downloaded by any Force in the UK for a witness viewing. This flexibility together with a high level of security and control for the images supports the Home Office aims of driving innovation, collaboration and improved efficiency in policing


VIPER® Volunteers

If you, or any of your family or friends, are unfortunate enough to be a victim of crime (or to witness a crime) your help may be important as YOUR description of the offender may be used by police to generate a video identification parade to help identify possible suspects for that crime.

However, to produce the best possible video identification parades we need to ensure that a representative gallery of anonymous faces exists which reflects the diverse ethnic and cultural make-up of the UK population. Without this gallery of images, which continues to evolve over time, victims of crime may not have their opportunity to identify offenders.

To build a gallery of faces, which reflects the diverse range of ethnicity and culture in our communities, we record volunteers from across the UK and from all walks of life.  Our recording locations include universities, colleges, schools, places of worship, offices, shopping centres, community groups and many other organisations happy to host our recording sessions.

It is thanks to the help and support we receive from many thousands of volunteers that we are able to ensure that the faces of people from all cultures and backgrounds, as well as varying  ages are represented, providing victims of crime the opportunity to identify offenders and help bring them to justice.

Why we urgently need your help?
We are currently seeking assistance from those able to host a recording event to record new images. Each volunteer who assists will have their image recorded and receive a cash payment for their time and effort.  Although this payment is paid directly to the volunteer, it is not unusual for hosted events to be used for fund raising, where volunteers donate their payments to a charity of their choice.

Your personal details, such as name, date of birth and address are NOT required. Only your age and nationality will be recorded and your image(s) will only be used for identification parade purposes.

If you can assist by hosting a recording session please contact:

[email protected]

If you would like more information please visit our website

If you would like to follow us on Twitter

Twitter: @WYP_VIPER

VIPER® is committed to protecting the rights and privacy of individuals in accordance with The Data Protection Act 1998 & GDPR

Every crime has a victim and every victim needs our help