I've noticed that when referring to an unknown perpetrator, police often use the term "individual".
For example see this article.
What is the purpose of using this word? I've always found it odd. "person" seems more natural, and is easier to say.
Are the police trying to emphasize that they are looking for a single person instead of potentially multiple people? That's useful information. But in that case, "person" is also singular, so it would still work.
The word "individual" has a somewhat... clinical feel to it. Are the police trying to subtly cast the unknown perpetrators as others, not worthy of being called "people"?