back to article Met issues mug-shot gallery mobe app to finger wanted crooks

The Metropolitan Police is pushing a mug-shot gallery smartphone app so Londoners can help nab petty criminals across the capital. New software called Facewatch ID displays police-issued images of unnamed suspects and sought-after witnesses for citizens to identify. Punters pop their postcode into the app to get photos of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    A statue has already been made to celebrate early adopters


  2. PyLETS
    Big Brother

    Highest density of CCTVs in the world

    We're all carrying these things now within our mobile phones. A fixed webcam pointing out of the bedroom of someone living around the corner from me nailed a woman who'd put a cat in a wheelie bin a year or so ago. I don't mind this tech being used to catch petty thieves and cat abusers and more serious crims, but we probably will need better data protection law and enforcement to prevent misuse of all the data we're all collecting. Big brother icon, because we can't any longer seperate our own behaviour and capabilities from the actions of the nebulous "them" for whom "we" all have to take a degree of responsibility.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Highest density of CCTVs in the world

      As I understand it, you are not allowed to place a private camera so that is monitors another person's property or a public place. So the cat in the wheelie bin situation was being illegally monitored?

      As for the public helping to identify pictures of witnesses; I can imagine a situation where someone is walking through a park, a good face shot captured on public CCTV while a nasty crime is being comitted in nearby bushes; then their face is presented as 'the police would like to talk to this person in connection with a rape and murder that took place last week'.

      The police might state, in writing on the site, that the person is only a witness, but you can bet lots of illiterate mouth-breathing thugs will beat them up as soon as they recognise them.

      When you recruit volunteers from the public without screening or training, you get the quality you pay for.

      1. MrWibble

        Re: Highest density of CCTVs in the world

        Perfectly legal to record public places. Search for "Section 44" photography.

        1. SYNTAX__ERROR

          Re: Recording private / public places

          Yes, the section 44 reference is relevant if you're a photographer, that is actually doing the recording overtly and in person.

          For CCTV things are slightly different. One is obliged to take measures to avoid recording images of other people's private property. If it was just a small corner of the image it's unlikely anyone could object but it is easy to use a bit of masking tape. CCTV images captured for personal use are not subject to the Data Protection Act.

          If an organisation wants to record images, they are obliged to do so overtly unless there is a good and specific reason for the surveillance to be covert. Part of being overt about it involves placing signs to draw attention to the monitoring and for what purposes it will be used. Generally, the system must not record audio.

          Importantly, if the surveillance is contracted out then the contracting company must obtain a license from the Security Industry Authority.


    2. hplasm

      The Nebulous Them

      A fine 80's band!

      /the rest is true also...

  3. johnnymotel

    this happened to me...

    Sometime back, before this app, I was walking from my brother's house to the tube , near his street I had to double back to fetch something and I had to twice pass a house with kids playing outside. As I passed the house I looked at the kids playing, BIG mistake!

    Then this large coloured lady started following me, I was getting a bit paranoid and started to speed up, so she screamed out "hoi you stop". So like a dutiful citizen I stopped. She comes up all puffed and clearly ready for a showdown. She starts accusing me of being a pedophile, for looking at her kids playing. She reckoned I looked like a known perp and she worked for the local nick, so she knew all the perps.

    I was by now shaking with fear, she seemed determined to make something of this and I was expecting a bevy of cop cars to appear. I'm no spring chicken and my poor old ticker was doing overtime by now.

    Fortunately, brothers house was nearby and when I pointed this out several times, she calmed down and finally apologised.

    Anyway, the jist of the story is, what's to stop this mistaken identity happening more and more often.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Next time get witnesses

      I wonder if a lawsuit for malicious slander would make her a tad more selective in her appraisals of strangers. I can appreciate someone wanting to protect their kids, but accusing someone to be a pedo is seriously off base.

    2. Jonathan Richards 1

      The really sad part

      The really sad part of that story is that somebody can be accused of paedophilia (a hideous crime), simply for stopping to look at children playing. The nation has lost its sense of proportion entirely, and we're at risk of bringing up a generation of children who believe all strangers are dangerous.

    3. LinkOfHyrule

      Re: this happened to me...

      I would have said to her "what you know all the local peados? What do you hang round with them or something? Are you a member of their ring?!" and told her to fuck right off!

      If however the situation called for a more polite response I would have informed her that I am not a nonce and that statistically most children are abused by people known to them so statistically speaking her kids are more likely to be abused by her than they are by me - and then told her to fuck right off!

      Things like this happen because of the Daily Mail and other shit newspapers causing peadomania. Those sort of papers are so obsessed by the subject that frankly it makes me wonder! It fucks me off as I find their whole attitude abhorrent to those of us who have suffered at the hands of abusers in the past, they use something awful as a fucking marketing technique and in the process scare a load of thick people into thinking the world is crawling with Ian Huntleys. Hurry up and die print media, only thing its good for is wiping arses on!

  4. Elmer Phud

    Welcome to Neighbourhood Watch 2.0

    Damn, beat me to it.

    First app to ever come with twitching net curtains.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the fun that could be had..

    .. if someone managed to hack into the feed of this app. You could add all members of parliament, bankers and the odd random person on the street. I'd give it roughly 30 seconds before it would get canned.

    I'm OK with the idea (after all, it's the electronic equivalent of "wanted" posters), but making it too easy might lower the bar on who they put on this system which worries me, especially when you take into account the kind of people who go after a paediatrician because they can't tell that from pedophile..

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      Re: Ah, the fun that could be had..

      Indeed, some people are so thick that they think a peadiatrician is a peadophile electrician!

  6. Ross K Silver badge

    Ah, RIM...

    ...the friend of the police.

    Has the Blackberry gone the way of the Palm Pilot yet?

  7. arrbee

    Bad luck if you have a superficial resemblance to someone on the list - you could be accused / reported 100s of times in a week of commuting across town.

    1. Ross K Silver badge

      True. Ask Jean Charles De Menezes.

      Oh wait, you can't because he was shot in a case of mistaken identity.

      Interesting paper on facial recognition here:

      "One possible reason for our

      faith in eyewitness identification is that we are so good at

      recognizing familiar faces in everyday life that we tend to

      over-generalize our confidence in these abilities, by assuming

      that we are also good at recognizing unfamiliar faces. This is

      a mistake."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Isn't that sort of thing going to happen anyway? These sort of pics are published, in local papers, web sites, crimewatch, etc - this is just a logical extension.

      1. Ross K Silver badge

        Re: Err...

        Except now what you'll have mouthbreathers who can't read a newspaper or watch Crimewatch carry a library of mugshots around on their phone.

        Feeling bored on the bus on the morning commute? Let's compare other passengers' faces to the Met-issued digital wanted posters... Yay! Can you send tip-off texts to 999?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Download link?


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this weeks STASI winner is....


    for grassing up everything all your neighbours are up to.

    You will get a weeks(all expenses paid) holiday at a Re-Education holiday camp along the coast (G.t Yarmouth) where you can pratice your observational skills on the multiculturaly mixed natives and (with your help) send most of them down the swanny to spend the next five years in a Gualag of your choice.

  10. Rob 5

    Search Results: No results returned for: facewatch

    That was on

  11. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Wot no jokes

    about RIM helping to finger it's own customers.

    How soon we forget.

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