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"Secret weapons" in helping Met Police catch London rioters revealed to audience of UK detectives.

8 October 2013

Leading CCTV experts from the Met Police and the company 3rd Forensic this week showcased innovative technology that provided the capital’s top investigators with a ‘secret weapon’ to help them identify and prosecute hundreds of suspects responsible for the London riots in 2011. The Forensic Image Linking and Management (FILM) software developed by 3rd Forensic played an integral part in helping officers involved in the investigation of the riots codenamed Withern crack the case.

World-renowned CCTV expert DCI Mick Neville, head of Images at the Met and Det Chief Supt William Lyle, who headed the investigation into Operation Withern told an audience of UK police that the FILM database enabled them to capture, process and link thousands of images that helped provide the intelligence to caution, arrest and convict 3,145 suspects. Without it – they could not have dealt with the sheer volume of images.

The London riots were one of the biggest incidents of disorder the force has ever had to deal with in recent years. Thousands of people took to the streets and began looting retail premises in extraordinary shows of lawlessness and anarchy. Imagery expert David McIntosh, who heads 3rd Forensic, explained to officers who attended the CCTV Conference run by the Investigator magazine ( how the technology can transform the way they tackle crime.

“FILM is the first of its kind in the world and it provides a direct solution for forces looking to make more intelligent use of CCTV and other forensic imagery,” said Mr McIntosh. “This comes at a time when these images are become an integral part of the evidential process. They can often be the difference between a won and lost case.”  “FILM is the most effective database I have known in my police career,” said DCI Neville. “It has transformed the way the Met circulates, links and manages unidentified images of offenders ‘caught on camera.’ "It ensures our officers are shown the right images – bespoke to their knowledge of local criminals – and allows me to see that these identifications are converted to offenders brought to justice.

“FILM is a major factor in ensuring the use of images can become the Third Forensic Discipline alongside DNA and fingerprints.” FILM received a coveted technology award for innovation from the Home Office recently.  3rd Forensic is now embarking on a series of regional demonstrations and trials with UK force to enable the software to be rolled out nationally.

L-R DCI M.Neville from Scotland Yard, S. Swain CEO 3rd Forenisc, Det Chief Supt W. Lyle from Scotland Yard, D. McIntosh Chairman 3rd Forensic, Front L-R Dr J. Davis Greenwhich University

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