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Dr Josh P Davis was invited to provide a presentation to the UK's football safety officials at the home of Shakespeare on 9 October 2019. The idea of super-recognisers working with stewards and police as well as body worn cameras - and possibly in the future - computerised face recognition systems seemed to strike a chord with senior officials charged with safety at some of Europe's largest clubs (e.g., Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea - and many others).

Dr Davis described his successful work in 2014 advising Greater Manchester Police on the selection of suitable Metropolitan Police Service super-recognisers to work on Operation Resolve, the second Inquest into the Hillsborough Disaster (1989) in which 96 people died. These officers performed a key role in identifying the victims amongst the very large crowds from the CCTV and BBC TV images captured on that very traumatic day. They helped to produce inquest informative timelines of these fan's final movements. The scenes on video that have never been released to the public are some of the most harrowing that most people viewing will ever again see.

The Met Police officers had achieved highest scores out of well over 1,000 officers on a series of  face matching tests a few months beforehand as part of a pilot undergraduate project by Andreea Maigut (University of Greenwich 1st Class BSc Psychology - who later volunteered to work in the New Scotland Yard Super-Recognisers Unit for about a year).

Josh Davis also described his observations of super-recognisers from Super-Recognisers International, and body worn cameras from Digital Barriers working at Charlton Athletic Football Club (described in another blog here).

Perhaps appropriately, the after dinner speakers were goalkeepers Mark Crossley (mainly Nottingham Forrest and Wales), who provided excellent anecdotes of his time under the management of the 'eccentric' Brian Clough; and Bruce Grobbelaar, best known for his time at Liverpool when they ruled European football. Like Mark Crossley, Bruce provided some highly humorous memories of his time in football, as well as one extremely sobering moment - he was the Liverpool goalkeeper at Hillsborough. Afterwards, like all the team, he had visited many of the grieving families. He described some of the events of the day and after. Coincidentally, Mark Crossley was watching Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest play that day from the other end of Hillsborough stadium.

The Football Safety Officials Association was created as a consequence of the Hillsborough Disaster, and they are constantly looking for ways to improve the safety of fans.

Josh Davis has published two articles on spotting faces in crowds:

Davis, J. P., Treml. F., Forrest, C., & Jansari, A (2018). Identification from CCTV: Assessing police super-recognisers ability to spot faces in a crowd and susceptibility to change blindness. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 32(3), 337-353. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3405 (download here)

Durova, M. D., Dimou, A., Litos, G., Daras, P., & Davis, J. P. (2017). TooManyEyes: Super-recogniser directed identification of target individuals on CCTV. Proceedings of the 8th IET International Conference on Imaging for Crime Detection and Prevention (ICDP-17), IET Digital Library, 43-48. (download here)


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