Monday, October 03, 2016

Police officer's facial recognition skills have led to over 850 arrests in four years

A police officer dubbed "memory cop" has recognised more than 850 criminal suspects in just four years. PCSO Andy Pope has developed a reputation for possessing first-rate facial recognition skills.

PCSO Pope has picked out over 850 criminals; including identifying one robber he had seen an image of a year before and another by the mole on their face. Every morning he arrives at work half an hour early, logs on to his computer, and scrutinises the pictures of suspects that feature in the day's internal police briefing. The West Midlands Police officer of Redditch, Worcestershire, stores more faces year-on-year and now averages one recognition every other shift.

Such is his fierce reputation that fellow officers claim PCSO Pope recognised faces from CCTV footage so grainy they wouldn't be able to pick out their own mothers. Among his most famous spots was an occasion where he indentified someone by the shape of their moustache. "If you look at a picture enough times, there is usually something that sticks in the mind as distinctive", PCSO Pope said.

YouTube link.

"Maybe I can't pinpoint what that something is at the time, but when I see the person in the flesh, it triggers that recognition". PCSO Pope said it is "hard to explain" his gift for recognising faces. He added: "I feel a great sense of pride and satisfaction if I manage to remember a suspect from an image who is then arrested. Hopefully there will be many more to come in future. I don't know whether I have a photographic memory. My wife has to deal with things like birthdays and anniversaries. When it comes to remembering dates, I'm useless."

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