School of Human Sciences
Institute of Lifecourse Development
University of Greenwich
London SE10 9LS
Professor Josh P Davis
I wrote a blog about PCSO Andy Pope in February 2020 after the Daily Mail reported he had identified 406 fugitives in 2019. Last week, West Midlands Police announced Andy has now identified over 2100 suspects in the 6 years he was worked for them – even when some were wearing face masks. Andy Pope patrols West Midlands transport hubs as part of their Safer Travel Partnership.
See also BBC, and, Euronews, who linked the story to the University of Greenwich.
Andy visited the University of Greenwich labs to contribute to some of our research a few years ago, and at that time he had identified about 1,000 suspects in total – now his successes have more than doubled. At about the same time, he completed the face recognition tests created to identify members of the Association of Super Recognisers. He was one of the first 20 in the world to pass the requirements to become a licensee. The Association represents those who possess superior memory skills (https://www.associationofsuperrecognisers.org/).
Andy is a clear example of how police forces should cleverly deploy their super-recognisers to ensure highly positive crime detection outcomes. Some researchers have estimated that about 2% of the population share this ability, although those identified as super-recognisers using the University of Greenwich four generic test-type procedures (short-term and long-term face memory, simultaneous face matching, spotting faces in a crowd) are probably far rarer.
In recent years we have assisted the Metropolitan Police Service, Thames Valley Police, Munich Police, Stuttgart Police, Super-Recognisers International, and Queensland Police Service as well as many others who wish to retain their anonymity. Contact Professor Josh P Davis at email@example.com if you want to know more.
An in-depth free-to-download chapter pre-print can be found here:
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
Free pre-print here: https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/jvu9z
Since the start of 2019 we have posted the results of our research projects on our website, and on Twitter www.superrecognisers.com (see news section), and on Twitter (@GRErecognisers).