Industry News

‘Wanted Poster’ Smartphone App to Pursue Unidentified London Rioters

The Metropolitan Police plans to recruit the help of the public, plus a smartphone app, to track down as-yet unidentified individuals accused of crimes committed during the 2011 London riots, according to a BBC report.

2,880 CCTV images are to be uploaded into a free smartphone app dubbed Facewatch ID so people can browse them, and possibly send the authorities the name and address of the persons they may know.

“My hope is that the two-thirds of Londoners who own smartphones will download this app, and help us identify people we still need to speak to. We need Londoners to browse through the app every week or so as new images will appear regularly. This is a fantastic way for Londoners to help us to fight crime” said assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, head of specialist crime and operations at Scotland Yard, as quoted by BBC.

The rioter trackdown task ahead is likely to be made even easier due to local authorities’ deal with the UK’s leading provider of mobile phones and broadband that will turn the Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea areas of London into “the largest free wireless zone in Europe”. The deal was initially designed to enable “visitors to London to share their pictures and updates of the Olympic events across social networking sites”, according to the provider’s statement for back in January 2012. With the appearance of Facewatch ID, this surge in connectivity has found a collateral purpose.

The authorities seem to have made long term plans for this app, which basically works on the same principle as “wanted” posters. Its image database apparently contains a couple of thousands of pictures intended to help locate other offenders who did not participate in the riots.

About the author

Ioana Jelea

Ioana Jelea has a disturbing (according to friendly reports) penchant for the dirty tricks of online socialization and for the pathologically mesmerizing news trivia. From gory, though sometimes fake, death reports to nip slips and other such blush-inducing accidents, her repertoire is an ever-expanding manifesto against any Victorian-like frame of thought that puts a strain on online creativity. She would like to keep things simple, but she never does.