11 August 2010

Burglars at Large! The Sequel

Well, the police contacted me to say they had arrested a couple of men for burglary in a nearby town, and suspected they were the same suspects in our adventure of the previous night.  Would I be prepared to look at some photographs?  Obviously, the answer was, yes.  Why?  Several reasons, as follows.
  • Criminals should not be allowed to set the tone of our society.
  • Criminals do not care about their victims.  Why protect them by looking the other way?
  • The police provide us with a valuable service but need our eyes and ears. 
  • We cannot expect to call on the police when we need their help but turn them away when they need ours.
Tonight, I went along to the local nick to look at video identity parades.  These were a bit like a PowerPoint presentations with nine images.  In my case, there were two suspects and therefore two parades. 

Everything was done very carefully.  One of the suspects had asked for a solicitor, who attended the parade to ensure that there was no prompting.  The second suspect had no solicitor, so the process was videoed.  The police staff were from a different station and had no direct involvement in the case to ensure there was no collusion. 

I was asked to view each parade twice without comment.  Thereafter I could see it as many times as I needed to, and freeze on any individual images I wanted to.  After each presentation, I was asked a series of questions, to which my answers were recorded exactly.

The first of my two parades showed a series of faces with just the area around the eyes showing.  One of the suspects I had seen had taken great care to conceal his identity.  I had also been at least 10m away from him.  If he was in the parade, I had no idea.

The second of my parades showed clear views of the faces; the other suspect had not shown such nous as to disguise himself.  As soon as I saw the first image, I knew the person I had seen was unlikely to be on show.  All the images in a parade are selected to match the suspect closely.  The guy I had seen had more hair and longer stubble.  Sure enough, I was unable to identify anyone.

Interestingly, the stolen bikes were in the station.  I had no trouble identifying them!

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