Updated: Oct 31

School of Human Sciences

Face and Voice Recognition Lab

Institute of Lifecourse Development

University of Greenwich

London

www.superrecognisers.com

super-recognisers@greenwich.ac.uk

Twitter: @GRecognisers


28 October 2022

Updated 31 October 2022


German Federal Police (Bundespolizei) visit the University of Greenwich to sign a new Super-Recogniser testing contract.


On 20 October 2022, a delegation from the German Federal Police (Bundespolizei, AKA 'Bund'), Europe’s largest police force with over 51,000 employees (> 34,500 police officers), and a liaison officer from the German Embassy in London, visited the Old Naval College in Greenwich to sign a new 2-year contract with the University of Greenwich.


University of Greenwich press release describing visit here.

https://www.gre.ac.uk/articles/public-relations/two-year-deal-to-train-elite-police-spotters


With this second contract, police officers from across Germany will have the opportunity to take a series of face recognition tests, designed to determine if they might be a super-recogniser (highly superior face recognition ability). The test regime was designed by Professor Josh P Davis, with more than a little help from the students and research assistants of the Face and Voice Recognition Lab of the university's Institute of Lifecourse Development (see Davis, 2019a, https://tinyurl.com/davisjp2019; Davis, 2020, https://tinyurl.com/davisjp2020 for information about the history of the lab and tests).


Professor Davis’s first research consultancy contract with the Bund ran from July 2020 to July 2022. The University of Greenwich tests used to identify super-recognisers were administered in a series of phases. More than 5,000 participants started the first phase of the tests, administered online. Top scorers, numbering in the hundreds, attended the final phase, held in invigilated examination conditions, while being remotely monitored by members of the Face and Voice Recognition Lab.


Professor Davis’s first research consultancy contract with the Bund ran from July 2020 to July 2022. The University of Greenwich tests used to identify super-recognisers were administered in a series of phases. More than 5,000 participants started the first phase of the tests, administered online. Top scorers, numbering in the hundreds, attended the final phase, held in invigilated examination conditions, while being remotely monitored by members of the Face and Voice Recognition Lab.


Police super-recognisers, identified by the Face and Voice Recognition Lab have themselves since identified thousands of criminal suspects, often when captured on CCTV footage. It is also not uncommon for some to spontaneously and unexpectedly encounter and arrest such fugitives from justice while off duty and travelling on public transport (https://tinyurl.com/kp7hcjr5)


The record may be held by a London Metropolitan Police Service officer from the Central Image Investigation Unit who in 2021 had claimed 3,800 suspect identifications in a period of four years (Mason, 23 September 2021, https://tinyurl.com/2jbjprjr). Information about some of other successful police super-recognisers can be found on this website (e.g., Crimewatch Live, https://tinyurl.com/2p95peac, New York Times, https://tinyurl.com/4yxt8468, VICE, https://tinyurl.com/3xkr2w7d, One Show, BBC1: https://tinyurl.com/nkbvpajm, Galileo, Germany: https://tinyurl.com/nhauxajk).


Under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building, and Community, the Bund is the law enforcement agency of the German Federal Government. It has offices in all of the 16 states that make up Germany and it is primarily responsible for counterterrorism, border control, and aviation security. Police forces, under the control of the 16 individual German states are known as the Landespolizei. In recent years, the University of Greenwich has signed similar super-recogniser testing contracts with police forces in four of those states, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, and Saxony.


A quick comparison with UK policing, shows that about 160,000 are employed across all the nations making up the country, while more than 32,000 police officers work for the Metropolitan Police Service in London alone.


Figure 1: Attendees at the meeting to sign the contract between the University of Greenwich and the Bundespolizei (from left to right, Giorgia Hounkpatin, Jane Seeber, Ryan Jenkins, Kay Klindt, Svenja Kraemer, Mario Schulz, Josh Davis, Derek Moore, Jaffreen Ahmed, Lenka Nemeckova, Jörg Kunzendorf).


The delegation, led by Mario Schulz, consisted of four employees of the Bundespolizei, - Kay Klindt (who welcomed Professor Josh Davis to the headquarters of the Bundespolizei in Potsdam in the autumn of 2019, Davis, 2019b), Svenja Kraemer, and Jane Seeber. The fifth attendee was Jörg Kunzendorf, the Liaison Officer of the federal police at the German embassy in London.


The visitors were greeted by Derek Moore (Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Education, Health and Human Sciences), Professor Josh P Davis (Principal Investigator of the Face and Voice Recognition Lab), and Student Research Assistants, Ryan Jenkins (PhD Psychology), Jaffreen Ahmed (BSc Psychology: Level 6), Lenka Nemeckova (BSc Psychology: Level 6), and Giorgia Hounkpatin (Volunteer: BSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology: Level 5).


Please contact the team on super-recognisers@greenwich.ac.uk for information on how our testing procedures might transform the effectiveness of your organisation.


If you would like to join more than 7,000,000 people who have taken some of our tests to find out if they might be a super-recogniser, there is a fun starter test here. If you achieve very high scores on this and other tests you should receive information about other opportunities to contribute to research, https://tinyurl.com/mr3a5s56 (in 7 languages).



Figure 2: Pro-Vice Chancellor Derek Moore witnessed the contract signing and handed an Institute of Lifecourse Sciences paperweight to each of the visitors.


Mario Schulz




















Kay Klindt




















Svenja Kraemer




















Jana Seeber




















Jörg Kunzendorf




















In return, the University of Greenwich delegation were delighted to each receive a Bundespolizei pen set.












This blog was edited on 31 October 2022 to add information about the University of Greenwich press release.


References


Davis, J. P. (2019). The worldwide impact of identifying super-recognisers in police and business. The Cognitive Psychology Bulletin; Journal of the British Psychological Society: Cognitive Section, 4, 17-22. ISSN: 2397-2653. https://shop.bps.org.uk/the-cognitive-psychology-bulletin-issue-4-spring-2019 (Download pre-print here: https://bit.ly/davisjp2019)


Davis, J. P. (2019). The impact on crime detection of super-recognisers in the police. Invited presentation delivered at the Bundespolizeipräsidium, Headquarters of the Bundespolizei, Potsdam, Germany, 29 November 2019.


Davis, J. P. (2020). CCTV and the super-recognisers. In C. Stott, B. Bradford, M. Radburn, and L. Savigar-Shaw (Eds.), Making an Impact on Policing and Crime: Psychological Research, Policy and Practice (pp 34-67). London: Routledge. ISBN 9780815353577. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429326592 (Download pre-print here: https://bit.ly/34Phwjm)


Galileo TV, Germany (4 April 2016). "Super Recognizer": Die Spezialeinheit der Londoner Polizei, Galileo, ProSieben, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgpJnm5MbPo&t=398s


Hutchcraft, J. (24 August 2020). How Police Are Using 'Super Recognizers' Like Me to Track Criminals. Vice, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep487p/how-police-are-using-super-recognizers-like-me-to-track-criminals


Mason, G. (23 September 2021). Identification and arrest: Specialists who lead their field. UK Police News - Police Oracle. https://www.policeoracle.com/news/investigation/2021/Sep/23/identification-and-arrest--specialists-who-lead-their-field-_107918.html


New York Times. (05 September 2018). From Mountain of CCTV Footage, Pay Dirt: 2 Russians Are Named in Spy Poisoning, New York Times. 05 September 2018

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/world/europe/salisbury-novichok-poisoning.html

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