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Facewatch app shares CCTV images of West Midlands suspects

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Media captionBBC Midlands Today reporter Joanne Writtle had her picture uploaded to demonstrate the app

Pictures of suspected criminals will be shared via a mobile app within minutes of them being caught on CCTV in the West Midlands, police have announced.

Facewatch will allow smartphone and tablet owners to view CCTV images and submit information about them.

West Midlands Police said almost 200 images were uploaded during a pilot, leading to nine arrests.

It has already been used in other regions, including London to identify suspects from the 2011 riots.

Instant crime reports

Businesses can also use Facewatch as an instant tool to report crimes, electronically providing CCTV pictures of suspects and details to detectives.

Garry Forsyth, Assistant Chief Constable for West Midlands Police, said: "The app allows [members of the public] to search for suspects within a certain radius of a given location, perhaps their home or work address, and view their images.

"The system has already proved hugely successful in London where during the first few months of its launch the app had 100,000 downloads and images were viewed more than 8.5m times."

Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre is among the businesses signed up to the project.

Crime reports are instantly sent to a police contact centre and passed to the appropriate investigation team and automatic email updates are sent to the victim.

Det Ch Insp Adrian Atherley said: "We've wasted a lot of time in the past trying to download CCTV at a range of different businesses.

"This is really simple... It means the police don't need to spend a long time downloading that information."

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