Face recognition technology helps to crack UK crime
16 July 2014 12:05 GMT

ID Unit Officer Hilary Gazzard and ID Unit Manager Andy Ramsay demonstrating the 'NeoFace' computer system

Leicestershire Police claims to be the first force in the UK to test new ‘face recognition’ software which could transform the way criminals are tracked down.

Supplied by NEC, the NeoFace system is capable of comparing any digital image - such as CCTV or police body camera footage - with any photo held on the Leicestershire Police database.

The computer programme has been under evaluation for a couple of months and around two hundred suspects have already been put through the system, with a high success rate of identification.

The technology provides initial results in just a matter of a few seconds, the police said. The current system, although computerised, involves manually searching for possible matches, which can take up to several hours.

Chief Inspector Chris Cockerill said: “We’re very proud to be the first UK Police force to evaluate this new system. Initial results have been very promising and we’re looking forward to seeing what can be achieved throughout the six month trial.”

While the results can’t be used as evidence in court, the programme does give detectives significant help in developing new lines of enquiry.

Identity unit Manager Andy Ramsay said: “We have over ninety-thousand photos on our system and Neo-Face can compare someone’s image against our complete databases in seconds. Besides the speed it’s also impressive because it can even find family members related to the person we’re trying to identify.”