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Police Oracle. Super-recogniser picks up top award at prestigious ceremony.

09 February 2016

A detention officer who has helped put hundreds of criminals behind bars due to his “super recogniser” ability picked up the top trophy at an awards ceremony this week. 

Idris Bada, based in Westminster, was surprised to receive the Police Staff of the Year prize at the Met's Total Excellence in Policing Awards but admitted he was stunned to pick up the Overall Winner award in front of more than 200 officers and staff.

Between 2014 and 2015, Mr Bada made 369 identifications of thieves, burglars, fraudsters and other offenders as well as submitting court ready evidential statements – all while balancing his full-time role as dedication detention officer at a busy West End custody suite.

“I mostly look through the images on a night shift when it is a bit quieter and all the prisoners are settled down for the night,” he said.

“A lot of the time the people I recognise are right there in the cells at the time for something unrelated, so I think to myself mentally – I’ve got you.”

The Met’s use of super recognisers – those with the ability to remember the faces or names of nearly everyone they have ever seen – stems back to 2007 and the work of Chief Detective Inspector Neville who realised that some officers were constantly making criminal identifications from poor images.

The concept was then researched by Dr Josh Davis, a psychologist at the University of Greenwich, who began to test officers and staff to assess their abilities – with their skills proving particularly useful in identifying suspects from grainy images of the London Riots and in the case of murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross in 2014.

“When I was little my dad said I remember lots of useless information but it's proving worthwhile now,” joked Mr Bada, who has worked for the Met for 12 years. 

“One incident that stands out is a heroin addict who was known to go into bars and steal – but I managed to identify him from CCTV. The detective constable told me the man said he couldn't believe that I’d worked out it was him and even complimented me. So getting praise from the prisoners as well is pretty nice!”

L-R London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe Dention Officer Idris Bada

L-R London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, Detention Officer Idris Bada.


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