Software comes to help of police CCTV search

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Software comes to help of police CCTV search

Warwick Ashford

West Midlands Police Service has cut the time it takes officers to search CCTV images by 90% by using software from Scyron.

The software enables police to view, analyse, prepare and present CCTV, video, photographic, document and mobile phone images as evidence in court.

The force approached security and surveillance services company Scyron to help deal with 5,000 hours of CCTV images in its investigation of the Birmingham race riots in 2005.

Andrew Townsend, detective sergeant at West Midlands Police said, "We needed a system to manage the process and keep track of our progress so we could know what had been viewed, how much more had to be done, and what was to be used as evidence in court."

Scyron developed a tool to identify the actions and objects police were interested in on videotape, reducing human interaction to a minimum. The tool allows several police officers to work collaboratively on the images.

Una Cooke, head of the major investigations unit at West Midlands Police, said the software had condensed hours of CCTV images into a few minutes that had helped secure 11 convictions after the Birmingham riots.

She said that without the technology the case could have lasted weeks longer and that it would have been difficult for the jury to follow the evidence against individual defendants.

Scyron has since refined and expanded the system which is in use by six UK police services.

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