We can all remember the horrific images of the London riots of 2011 with masked youths looting shops and setting fire to seemingly anything that stood in their way. In response to the riots that shocked the world, London Met Police have launched a smartphone app, bursting with images of London’s most wanted criminals.
The Facewatch phone app is designed to encourage Londoner’s to help fight crime in the city as it will enable Londoners to surf through thousands of CCTV images uploaded on to the app via a crowd-sourcing tool, and help London police identify the 5,000 suspected criminals in London, most of who are related to the riots of 2011.
Although the Facewatch app has not been met without criticism, namely because of its logo, which has been referred to as being a “slightly creepy Big Brother all-seeming eye.”
CCTV cameras are also criticised by many as creating a ‘Big Brother’ nation, with the Civil rights group, Big Brother Watch, accusing the UK of having an ‘out-of-control’ surveillance culture and that London is no safer despite all its CCTV cameras.
The Facewatch app takes the notion of CCTV surveillance a step further by encouraging everyday London citizens to view footage in order to identify the criminals.
Although despite criticisms that London and the UK in general has become a Big Brother nation, Simon Gordon, director of Facewatch is enthusiastic that the new app will help to make London’ a safer city.
“We are extremely please to be the technology partner behind the Facewatch application and, by working closely with the Metropolitan Police Service team, to help in a small way towards creating a safe and more secure city, especially in such an important year for London,” said Gordon.
Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police is equally as optimistic about the Facewatch app, stating:
“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.”
London is considered to be the most ‘spied-on’ city in the world and whether this latest surveillance technology will help make London safer or even deter the criminals’ remains to be seen.