British police use smartphone App to snare rioters

June 26, 2012
Police stand guard on London road in Croydon, south of London, on August 10, 2011, following riots in the area. Police on Tuesday loaded almost 3,000 images onto a smartphone App and invited the public to help them identify people suspected of taking part in last year's riots.

British police on Tuesday loaded almost 3,000 images onto a smartphone App and invited the public to help them identify people suspected of taking part in last year's London riots.

The Metropolitan Police force loaded 2,880 CCTV images onto its App and urged people to sift through the images and confidentially send the names and addresses of any people identified.

"This is a great opportunity for the public to help us fight crime and bring those who remain outstanding to justice," said the force's Mark Rowley.

"We need Londoners to browse through the App every week or so as new images will appear regularly," he added. "This is a fantastic way for Londoners to help us to fight crime."

have repeatedly criticised the widespread use of CCTV in Britain.

The most comprehensive study undertaken found last year that there were 1.85 million cameras -- one for every 32 -- although the vast majority of these were inside and run by .

Police came under fire over their response to the initial outbreak of violence in the north London district of Tottenham on August 6, which was sparked by a fatal police shooting.

Officers appeared to pull back and the lawmakers claimed this initial reluctance to confront the rioters encouraged the spread of copycat unrest to other cities, causing widespread destruction and five deaths.

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