Force backs mugshot database

SUFFOLK police is to back a national facial recognition programme which will enable forces to share suspects' custody mugshots more easily.The county's constabulary has already earmarked cash for the FIND project - Facial Imaging National Database - which is being pioneered by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).

SUFFOLK police is to back a national facial recognition programme which will enable forces to share suspects' custody mugshots more easily.

The county's constabulary has already earmarked cash for the FIND project - Facial Imaging National Database - which is being pioneered by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).

Suffolk Police Authority has been told of the importance the scheme will have in detecting and preventing crime after chiefs listed support for FIND as one of the force's key initiatives.

Although the initiative has been delayed due to funding issues, alternative options for developing FIND are being explored.

It is hoped that the FIND database could allow face recognition technology to match CCTV images with details of offenders.

Peter Neyroud, NPIA chief executive, said the development of the database was just one element of a technological revolution in neighbourhood beat policing.

Most Read

Digital photographs of everyone who has been arrested for a criminal offence are logged, with the image linked to the criminal data held on the police national computer.

While each force is able to search the electronic mugshots in its own area to match them with CCTV images, the technology does not yet exist to search on the scale needed for a national database.

The NPIA said the database would allow forces around the country to search for, retrieve, store and transmit facial images or video images with scars, marks and tattoos if appropriate.

The idea is that each force will store its images on a central national database to give all forces immediate access to the mugshots for intelligence and investigative purposes.

Rights groups have complained that the scheme could bring about a “surveillance society”, but Home Office minister, Tony McNulty, rejected the claim.

He said: “The idea of big brother or big sister sitting on everybody's shoulder makes great copy for the newspapers but it is simply not the case.”

Do you fear a surveillance society? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter