There are two ways of getting yourself into a police line up.
One of them will probably cost you money and maybe even your life and is not an advisable career path.
The other could give you a great story to tell and a few extra £10 notes in your pocket for very little work.
Yes, did you know that you could get paid to pretend to be a criminal for a day? Read on to find out how.
Next time you’re watching a crime drama on TV, look out for the scene in which the police officer asks the witness to identify the face of the criminal from a group of six individuals.
If you are a fan of Brooklyn Nine Nine, you may remember the scene in which the witness’ hearing became the main thread of the investigation and Jake got the six men to sing. You could say that they quite literally gave The Back Street Boys a run for their money.
Police line ups used to be the bread and butter of police investigations and while the development of digital technology such as VIPER means that they are not so commonly used, they might remain a feature of your local station in the sticks.
Although musicality is probably appreciated as a good skill to have to kill the inevitable bureaucratic need to hang around for long period’s of time, don’t worry because no specific skills are required nor any qualifications.
While it is quite common for police officers to flesh out a police line up, they are usually preoccupied by with other work. This means that it can be a lot easier for a force to have a reliable pool of extras on call who they can mix and match to catch the real criminal.
As a police line up is composed of people who look alike to show fairness to the criminal and to prove that the witness can directly identify them, people participating in a line up are matched according to physical features such as weight, hair color, eye color and skin color.
While people were sometimes picked off the street to join an identity parade, it is sometimes possible to register for the line up at your local police station and to note that you will be willing to help out in the future. If you do this, however, you may be called to a variety of different police stations at short notice and so it’s worth leaving all your contact details and bearing in mind the value of a car.
Pay rates vary from police station to police station but a typical rate will be £10 or £15 for the first hour and £5 for every hour after.
Although your main task will be to stand in front of a stripy background, holding a number and looking menacing, you are also paid for any time spent hanging around while officers brief witnesses and for any travel expenses you may have incurred for the day.
While police line ups are usually composed of people with similar features, sometimes a police officer will like you to have a more specific characteristic relevant to the crime committed and so will send you off to a make up artist. This is good news for you as it means extra payment for the inconvenience.
In 2004, the BBC reported that new technology would be coming in to replace the good old identity parade and that this would make police line up’s redundant.
The Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording system (Viper) is a digital database of faces which makes it easier, cheaper and less traumatic for witnesses to point out the criminal.
While this program is used by many police stations, it’s worth going down to you local one to see if they still use the line up system. Even if they don’t, they may pay you to put your face up on the digital database. According to The Telegraph, volunteers are paid between £5 and £10 for taking part in a recording.
As any data you share will be protected by the Data Protection Act, there is no need to be worried it will end up anywhere else but if you do have concerns then make sure you raise them at the station.
Although submitting a profile to the digital database would be a one time thing, it’s still worth considering as it would be extra cash in your pocket and would also give you the satisfaction of helping out with law and order in your community.
Ever been in a police line up? Tell us your story below!