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Crimewatch highlights Halo effect in fight against crime


Pioneering crime-fighting technology being jointly developed by a Leeds-based company and the University of Bradford has been showcased on live national television.

Halo is a revolutionary technology involving high resolution cameras and software that capture high resolution images and biometric data enabling a level of facial identification currently unavailable to police forces and other agencies currently.

Acume Forensic of Leeds teamed up with Bradford’s Hassan Ugail, Professor of Visual Computing, after experiencing frustrations as part of their work with police forces on identification of suspects using current custody imaging.

The system, featured on BBC One’s Crimewatch Roadshow programme on Wednesday June 22, involves a bank of three cameras taking five images from different angles, able to record unique facial identifiers. These images are then processed using software that converts the information into a unique record of a person’s facial features, right down to small sections of the face.

Stephen Cole of Acume said: “Having seen a marked drop in custody image quality to the point where images taken 20-30 years ago are of higher quality than those taken yesterday, combined with Home Office issued guidance in 2007 which advises that police should be capturing 5 images as a minimum, of everyone taken into custody pre charge, to date no force has been able to attain this standard. This led to the development of Halo.

“The cameras capture these five images in one simple process exceeding the quality standard. However we have taken Halo a huge leap further. When we capture an image we are also capturing biometric facial data unique to that individual. This will allow for a level of automated ID that will exceed anything currently available.”

Professor Ugail added: “We are able to build a 3D model of a face that can be used to identify a person from poor quality or even partial CCTV images in a way that is currently extremely difficult. We are able to highlight unique features so that the image, even if it is partial, works like a fingerprint.

“The project also involves integrating databases from police forces across the country, many of which have different operating systems, meaning that our software can access all these databases quickly in order to identify someone.”

Halo is currently being trialled in conjunction with Leicestershire Police.

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