Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Police may be overlooking video evidence

From The Province's Ethan Baron: "Hundreds of evidence videos — including one related to a possible shooting and one from a drunk-driving case — seized by Vancouver police gathered dust in storage, unanalyzed, an internal report shows.

Of about 1,400 videos the force received in 2008, up to 600 were not analyzed as of April 2009, says a June 2009 audit of video-evidence management in the Vancouver Police Department.

"Public safety and the reputation of the VPD could be seriously jeopardized if significant forensic-video evidence was missed or overlooked," audit manager Simon Demers wrote. "The VPD could also face substantial civil liabilities."

Video evidence has extremely high value to police, Demers noted.

"It can be more easily scrutinized by the court and is typically more objective than witness statements. Video evidence cannot be prejudiced or intimidated," he wrote.

In the investigation stage, videos can greatly benefit police -- and taxpayers, Demers noted.

"Forensic video analysis can be extremely cost-effective because it represents an opportunity to quickly and decisively identify suspects and key witnesses, therefore shortening the investigation, freeing up traditional investigative resources, increasing the likelihood of a guilty plea and reducing police and court costs. Video evidence can be used to decisively confirm or refute alibis."

Click here to continue reading the article.


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