We all have unique abilities. However, some bring a special gift, such as the ability to remember a face and pick that face out of a crowd. People with this gift are called “super recognizers.” The City of London Police is putting them to good use.
According to the Associated Press, approximately 200 of these individuals have been recruited to comb through hours of crowd video tapes. Their work is especially helpful in identifying guilty parties during street crimes such as drug dealing and rioting.
After a 2011 riot, video imagery led to the arrest of 4,000 people. One of the Super Recognizers was responsible for the identification of almost 300 of them. Meanwhile, face recognition software was able to identify only one suspect.
Known troublemakers in London have another reason to look over their shoulder. Super Recognizers have been scanning crowds to locate those most likely to stir up trouble. Uniformed officers are directed to the location, sending the message, “Not today!”
Such a talent proves very useful even without video cameras. Months after viewing a picture of a wanted burglar, Office Paul Hyland spotted the same fugitive while stuck in traffic and arrested him.
AP contacted Interpol and reports that the City of London Police’s unit is unique. So far, no other department has been organizing officers by memory ability. This is new territory, but based on their success, expect other police departments to follow suit.
Bruce Bremer, MBA is LET’s technology contributor. Bruce retired from the Submarine Service after 21 years of in-depth experience with complex electronic technology. Lately, he has been developing curriculum and technical documentation for lighter-than-air tethered surveillance craft (aerostats). He has an extensive background in fleet modernization and military analysis. He teaches electronics and alternative energy at a Virginia college. Besides his MBA, Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer networking. He has been volunteering in public safety for many years.
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