Posts Tagged 'Crimestoppers'

First time ever I saw your face…

We can’t guarantee the faces you’ll see will be pretty but still, Facewatch will be a very useful tool in helping us identify villains caught on CCTV.

Follow our force Twitter accounts and on any given day you’re almost certainly going to notice officers mentioning that they’re out making some ‘CCTV enquiries’ at local shops, pubs and clubs.

Being one of our strongest sources of evidence, CCTV is usually the first thing that we check for after some crime has happened and the images captured by the cameras are often the evidence that help convince juries of someone’s guilt.

Important as CCTV is though, it may surprise you how tricky and time consuming it can be to get our sticky hands on those few crucial frames.

As a general rule, it is mandatory that every CCTV system uses its own obscure file format, that every manufacturer has their own complicated viewing software and that neither the files nor the software will be compatible with our own computers.

Not helpful enough?

Throw into the mix that in the CCTV industry, instruction booklets are generally frowned upon and even when we turn up at an incident and find that the world’s most awesome CCTV system was installed only yesterday, its owner will almost certainly not have a clue how to work it.

Sorry, still not helpful enough you say?

I forgot to mention we also have to spend many unhappy hours travelling around the West Midlands seizing discs/USB sticks/VHS cassettes, scribbling out production statements and booking all of this lot into the property store.

Surely there must be an easier way of doing things? Well, turns out there is…

Facewatch is an online system now used in the West Midlands and by other police forces and businesses up and down the country to help make employing CCTV evidence a whole lot quicker, easier and more effective for everyone.

Rather than us rozzers having to go and faff around with discs, unknown CCTV pin codes and ‘.pvr format unrecognised, please upgrade gigabubble codec and reintegrate with matrix’ error messages, everything can be done via the tubes of the interweb.

Using the Facewatch site, a business can both report a crime and upload the relevant CCTV footage straight to the net so that us officers can then pull an evidential package off at the station and commence enquiries without having to do everything manually.

Sound good? It gets better!

Not only are the images shared with ourselves, they can also be uploaded to an online gallery so that other businesses and members of the public can look at them and identify trouble causers.

The public galleries I can see being especially useful as for most offences, we only circulate offender images internally to see if other officers can pick out faces. Having more eyes on the pictures increases the chances that someone will be able to put names to the faces.

This builds on the success of our own galleries on the Wanted and Operation View sections of our website through which members of the public have helped us locate outstanding suspects from the riots.

If you’re a business interested in saving time by using the Facewatch system or a member of the public wanting to help punch crime in its scowling face, you can find out more about the service on their website, their Twitter account or Facebook page.

It’s still in early stages and more images are being added daily, but take a look at the Facewatch ID site to see some of the images already uploaded and check out the mobile app too for some ‘on the move’ crime fighting.

CCTV footage can be a very effective, damning form of evidence. Facewatch makes it even more effective for us and even more inconvenient for the criminals, tipping the balance further in our favour. Hurrah!

I kept on running into the south lands, that’s where they found me, my head in my hands…

Where are you, John? We'd like a little chat...

Having just had a quick peek at the FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted‘ list, I notice that they’ve got the catchy headline ‘be part of the solution’.

As we’ve just published our own version of the Most Wanted list, I’m writing to encourage you to be part of the solution yourself and help us catch some of the West Midlands’ most sought after criminals.

Drawing on the success of Operation View during which we encouraged – and are still encouraging – you to take a look at CCTV captured during the August Riots, we now have a dedicated section of our website on which we’re publishing some rather unpleasant mugshots of persons who we’re hoping you’ll help us locate.

Doing so is easy enough – you just need to take a note of the offender’s reference number and then either give us a call on 101 or alternatively, approach Crimestoppers anonymously with your tip off.

The people we’ve added to the gallery are wanted for some of the worst offences it’s possible to commit – there are suspected murderers, robbers, burglars and more. They’ve all either been convicted or are named as responsible for a range of serious offences and what’s more, whilst their not residing in one of our cells are more likely than not out causing harm in your area.

Because this is the case we need your help to locate and arrest these villains as soon as possible. You might recognise them from the pub, or through a friend of a friend or maybe you’ve seen them hanging around on your estate – whatever your connection and however strong, it’s important that you get in touch to help us prevent further offences.

As you’ll notice from the gallery, there are already suspects who have big red ‘arrested’ stamps across their silhouettes – this will be because members of the public have got in touch and we’d love to see a few more stamps appearing on the other people in the gallery – it’ll be owing to your help that this will happen.

People help the people…

Above is a short video relating to the investigation into the double murder of Avtar Kolar and Carole Kolar in Handsworth Wood on Wednesday January 11th.

As has been stated in the press release issued recently, a large team of detectives are working on the case and are keen to hear from anyone who spoke to or heard from the couple at any point after 19:15 on Tuesday the 10th, or were in the area at the time.

Detailed forensic analysis is currently being conducted at the crime scene and a postmortem due to take place to establish the exact cause of death.

Anyone with information that could assist the enquiry is asked to call Force CID in Birmingham by calling the new non-emergency telephone number, 101, and asking for officers working on Operation Tiler, or by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Thoughts are with the family at this very difficult time.

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