Police station: identification procedure

The procedures in Code D are designed to test the ability of a witness to identify a suspect he claims to have seen or recognised from a previous occasion.

In cases when the suspect’s identity is not known, a witness may be taken to a particular neighbourhood or place to see whether they can identify the person they saw on a previous occasion. Code D sets out the formal procedures that should be followed, including the requirement for recording the full details of the circumstances of any identification by the witness.

Where a suspect’s identity is known and available Code D, para 3.12 sets out the circumstances in which a procedure must be held:

  1. Where an eyewitness has identified or purported to have identified a suspect, or there is a witness who expresses an ability to identify the suspect, or where there is a reasonable chance of the witness being able to do so; and
  2. The eye-witness has not been given an opportunity to identify the suspect in a video or group identification or identification parade; and
  3. The suspect disputes being the person the witness claims to have seen committing an offence.

If these conditions are satisfied, an identification procedure must be held unless it is not practicable or it would serve no useful purpose in proving or disproving whether the suspect was involved in committing the offence.

Code D, para 3.13 also allows for a procedure to be held if the officer in charge of an investigation considers it would be useful.

Code D provides that no procedure need be held if it would serve no useful purpose. Therefore, the appropriate question to ask is whether a procedure could produce relevant evidence.

A complete copy of Code D can be found here.