As the debate about surveillance technology and facial recognition cameras rages on, West Midlands Police can relax in the knowledge that they have their own secret weapon!
A police community support officer with West Midlands Police has an extraordinary talent for recognising faces and has now identified more than 2,100 suspects. And, in further good news for crime fighting, even mask wearing has not hampered his ability.
His record for the most suspects identified in one day is 17. He was also once able to recognise a man in a restaurant while waiting at traffic lights. Andy, 43, says he can recognise faces from CCTV, video stills and police briefings. He can also remember faces for years.
Andy joined the Force in 2012. By 2018 he had spotted 1,000 offenders. He passed the 2,000 mark earlier this year. Despite marking this milestone, he now wants to reach 2,500 by 2022. He is one of only 20 members of the Association of Super Recognisers, a body that represents people with excellent memory capabilities. The Association wants the skill to be recognised as a branch of forensic science.
Nicknamed the “memory man” by his colleagues, he admits his unusual skill is “impossible to explain.” Adding: “Despite my memory skills, I can only remember names when I’m in work, and I am useless at remembering anniversaries and birthdays. I leave that side of things to my wife!”
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