Feeds

Met issues mug-shot gallery mobe app to finger wanted crooks

Curtain-twitchers tap CCTV trove

The essential guide to IT transformation

The Metropolitan Police is pushing a mug-shot gallery smartphone app so Londoners can help nab petty criminals across the capital.

New software called Facewatch ID displays police-issued images of unnamed suspects and sought-after witnesses for citizens to identify. Punters pop their postcode into the app to get photos of people linked to their area. Information about those pictured can be submitted in confidence directly to the cops using the software.

The app has been responsible for bringing 29 people to trial in the last two months, according to Facewatch, the firm behind the technology.

It's hoped the app, sponsored by BlackBerry manufacturer RIM, will help reduce low-level crime such as personal and shop theft, credit-card fraud and criminal damage.

Facewatch also provides an online crime reporting tool and a CCTV film and image upload system to the police. A spokesman for Facewatch explained that the firm supplies crime-reporting technology to businesses, crime-reduction partnerships in town centres and other such groups so images of miscreants can be shared among relevant organisations.

Facewatch ID uses the same infrastructure, but there will be additional costs if the app takes off. This expansion may be financed by a mix of sponsorship and advertising revenues; there's no plan to charge for the application itself.

Only the police will be allowed to upload images, something that ought to add as a safeguard against abuse. Businesses and the general public will not be able to submit pics. The spokesman added that some of these images may have been taken during last year's riots.

The service officially launched in London on Wednesday with over 2,000 images of people the MPS would like to identify - however appeals in investigations into more serious offences will reside on the Crimestoppers website.

Facewatch ID will shortly include images from the City of London Police and the British Transport Police for London.

Welcome to Neighbourhood Watch 2.0

The technology effectively asks punters "do you know this person?", bringing a technique featured on the BBC's long-running Crimewatch programme to a smartphone platform. Less charitably it might be described as a dream app for curtain-twitching types. Britain has the highest density of CCTV systems in the world, so there will be no shortage of raw material.

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, responsible for Specialist Crime and Operations said: "The Metropolitan Police Service is determined to exploit the opportunities presented by CCTV to solve crime. The general public can support us in this - both by providing us with images - and then helping us to identify those who are responsible for committing crime.

"This new Facewatch crime app helps people to do this by giving them the ability to identify those suspected of committing crime in their local communities. I support the role that Facewatch can play in getting images to us faster and more efficiently - enabling us to arrest more criminals - and thereby making people feel safer. I would encourage as many people as possible to use the app to view these images and send in information."

Simon Gordon, chairman of Facewatch added: “The Facewatch ID app runs off the same secure infrastructure running our free crime reporting system for businesses and is available free to any police force in the UK – further forces are being added in the near future." ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?