The Home Office Crime Reduction Office has awarded the London borough of Newham a major bid to upgrade its CCTV anti-crime application that utilizes Visionics’ FaceIt(r) facial recognition software. The award is part of a national CCTV initiative, which is an extension to the government’s crime reduction program, announced in July 1998. The initiative is being managed jointly by the Home Office, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the National Assemble for Wales. FaceIt software is being used in conjunction with other control room software and hardware to automatically scan the faces of people passing the network of 250 CCTV cameras located around the Newham borough. The system searches the faces against a watch list of known criminals and alerts law enforcement when a match is found.
The advanced surveillance system prompted a visit by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. “The results that we have seen with the FaceIt system are unprecedented by any law enforcement standards,” says Bob Lack, Newham’s security and operations manager. “Our success is a tribute to the effective partnership between us, the Metropolitan Police and Visionics. We welcome the opportunity to showcase our operation to the Prime Minister.”