Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officials are planning to build a computer system to analyse photo and video evidence gathered by members of the public using mobile phones.
The project was inspired by systems used by broadcasters to gather, catalogue and publish content contributed by the public, according to the Telegraph.
The move comes in the wake of the riots in London and elsewhere last August, when mobile phone video proved to be a useful supplement to CCTV evidence in court cases.
The urban unrest raised questions about the technological readiness of police to respond to major incidents in the age of smartphones and social networks.
The proposed computer system is aimed at increasing police capacity to process and use large volumes of such evidence during major incidents.
“As part of ongoing contingency reviews and planning we have explored a number of technical options to enhance our ability to capture high volumes of data sent to the MPS from external sources. We spoke to a number of companies about the solution they could offer that could best meet our needs and operational requirements," the Met Police said in a statement.
In May, the Met published an app called “Facewatch ID” that contains 2,800 images of suspected rioters and announced it was to introduce software that can extract data from mobile phones to speed up investigations.
This software means police will be able to extract evidence that can be used in court without confiscating mobiles for the duration of a case or sending them offsite for forensic analysis.
The Met said more than 300 officers would be trained to connect a suspect's mobile and produce a printout of the data stored on the device, as well as saving digital records of the content.