Leicestershire Police is using facial recognition technology to help officers identify suspects to support investigations.
By uploading their custody images onto the facial recognition system, the team are able to run images of suspects caught on camera to see if there is a match. Officers review the results and make a human decision on whether or not there is a match.
Before using FR, the process for identifying a suspect could take the unit weeks, but now using this intelligence it takes minutes.
“Before facial recognition technology, an officer would have to share an image of a suspect through a network of colleagues to see if an identification could be made from memory alone. It was nearly impossible to put a timescale on how long this would take or whether a positive identification would be made. Now with facial recognition technology a suspect can be identified within minutes, speeding up the identification process and as a result speeding up the investigative process by creating earlier intelligence opportunities. Anything that speeds the criminal justice process up has to be good for victims.”
Society has seen massive changes over the last decade, which has meant the same for policing. With the increase in digital crimes and more accessibility to move around both, within the local area and outside of the local area, meant, a new generation of officers are less likely to recognise those committing crimes in their local vicinities.
By bringing modern technology such as FR, into policing, forces can be more fluid in how they use resources and protect their community. An example of this is below: –
Officers were investigating a serious assault where a male was attacked in the city by three unknown males. Having tracked the offender’s route after the offence, CCTV footage was retrieved by investigating officers however they could not provide a positive identification for the suspects. Assistance from the ID Unit using facial recognition retrospectively provided an intelligence match for one of the suspects which permitted progression of the investigation. Officers successfully arrested all 3 suspects as a result of the retrospective match. Unfortunately, the victim in this case died as a result of the injuries, however all three suspects were later convicted of manslaughter by the court and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. This outcome may not have been possible had it not been for the use of retrospective facial recognition.
“Supported by digital enhancements, our officers are better equipped to protect our communities and create quicker outcomes for victims and suspects alike.”