Big Brother has an app

This just received in my inbox (I get all sorts in my inbox, believe you me)…

Crimestoppers, Facewatch and the Association of Chief Police officers announced today that they have agreed to work in partnership with a focus on sharing technology and improving the tools available for crime reduction initiatives.


In fact it goes on at length before it becomes at all clear what this announcement is announcing. To cut to the chase : the public will now be able to upload cctv footage of burglars, thugs and assorted crims through an app, in order to report crime and track the fighting / solving of said crime with the use of facial recognition software. Sort of.

The mind boggles. Facewatch sounds like Facebook for big brother – your face snapped and uploaded via the app and bingo circulating across entire shopping malls on A3 size posters. I’m sensationalising / selecting for effect. But not much. Remind me never to p*ss off anyone with an iphone. Like my iphonophile kleptomaniac 2 year old. He will probably maliciously snap and upload me next time I tell him its time to give mummy her phone back now please darling.

On the plus side, the app is only available in London and Surrey currently, and the App Store reviews describe it as about as useful as a chocolate teapot. So they won’t be coming for me just yet…

Anyhoo, here’s the full press release:

Crimestoppers, Facewatch and the Association of Chief Police officers announced today that they have agreed to work in partnership with a focus on sharing technology and improving the tools available for crime reduction initiatives.  

Michael Laurie, Crimestoppers’ Chief Executive commented:

“This is an exciting opportunity to further develop Crimestoppers’ range of services for the public in providing them with an anonymous route to pass on information about crime as well as an opportunity to embrace the business community.  Facewatch not only gives us access to the very latest database and mobile technology but will also enable us to further empower individuals and communities in the fight against crime. The partnership of Facewatch and Crimestoppers with ACPO’s inclusion creates a world leading example of public and private sector co-operation.” 

Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers said:

“Crimestoppers is well loved by the public and also provides a great service for law enforcement across the UK. As a charitable organisation it relies on support from donations and help from a wide range of volunteers.  The opportunity to gain access to the latest technology through partnering with Facewatch is a great move and one which I applaud and support wholeheartedly.  The UK police forces through ACPO will engage fully with both organisations in the fight against crime.”

Simon Gordon, Executive Chairman, Facewatch Ltd added:

“The fundamental aim of Facewatch is to reduce low level crime using the very latest internet technology which empowers businesses, the public and the police to work together. I am delighted to be working in partnership with Crimestoppers and ACPO to create a lasting and trusted solution. This new partnership gives us added confidence in our core strategy of building an open system accessible to all those in the private and public sector, enabling them to work together collaboratively to create safer communities.”

Partnership member details:

Crimestoppers is an independent crime-fighting charity that operates the 0800 555 111 phone number which can be used to pass on information about crime anonymously. The public can also give information anonymously via the organisation’s website  
Around 22 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information given to Crimestoppers. Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, it has received over a million actionable calls, resulting in over 117,000 arrests and charges. Over £124 million worth of goods has been recovered and over £271 million worth of drugs has been seized. In 2005, Crimestoppers launched the UK’s Most Wanted on its website which allows the public to view images of criminals and pass on vital information about their whereabouts. It has been highly successful with over 1,700 arrests to date.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is an independent, professionally led strategic body. ACPO leads and coordinates the direction and development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In times of national need ACPO, on behalf of all chief officers, co-ordinates the strategic policing response. The Association brings together the expertise and experience of chief police officers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, providing a professional forum to share ideas and best practice, co-ordinate resources and help deliver effective policing which keeps the public safe.

Facewatch was founded in March 2010 and is the only police approved system for businesses wishing to simply and quickly report low level crime to the police online.  Facewatch crime reporting is a free service to businesses and police and provides an open platform solution and a standard interface between police and the business sector. Currently operating in six of the major UK police forces, the Facewatch system is being adopted across more forces rapidly as its success in reducing costs and assisting in solving crimes is recognised.  

Facewatch has also recently launched a highly successful free mobile App, Facewatch ID, for the identification of police issued images by the public using postcode proximity. Images are supplied and uploaded directly by the Police and this is currently available in London and Surrey. The new partnership will start by sharing this technology to enable the public to have the option to pass on crime information anonymously through Crimestoppers.  

Facewatch benefits:
•Online crime reporting using any device with an internet browser
•Instant crime reference created for insurance purposes 
•Free immediate cancellation of victims credit and debit cards by CPP’s Card Protection 
•No special equipment required other than internet access
•Works with any existing CCTV system or even without CCTV for reporting only
•Upload clips of moving footage to show just the relevant CCTV.  No CD’s required.
•Automatic paperless witness statements for every incident reported
•Perfect for shops, licensed premises, hotels and all CCTV monitored premises
•Highly visible deterrent to criminals through branded signage
•Instant online image sharing in groups such as Pubwatches, Shopwatches, BIDs, BCRP’s shopping centres, high streets, retail chains and larger retail groups
•Strong emphasis on preventing and detecting prolific offenders
•Direct link to local Police forces and appropriate officers – Police update the crime status throughout the investigation and can use the system for secure messaging between the business and case officers which remains on the case file
•Creation of posters showing images of banned or suspect persons for use by staff
•Full statistical analysis with key performance indicators showing Police status and success rates in solving the crimes
•Supported by licensing teams and recognised as a positive step in reducing crime 
•The only system to be accredited by ACPO ‘Secured by Design’.
•Victims and businesses updated automatically online with police progress of crime investigation

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