CCTV project aims to make it easier to track down criminals

1 min read

Researchers from Kingston University’s Digital Imaging Research Centre (DIRC) are working on a project to help police analyse CCTV footage of incidents in town centres more speedily.

‘We plan to develop components to automatically analyse multi-camera networks and footage before and after a trigger incident, such as a riot or fight, to produce a set of video segments relevant to a potential police investigation,’ said Dr James Orwell, leader of the Visual Surveillance Research Group within DIRC. ‘For example, if a window was smashed and a shop looted on a town-centre street, the technology being developed would be able to trace back to see who smashed the window and then retrace his steps to see when and where he entered the town centre.

‘The technology would also trace where the man had gone after leaving the scene — so, for example, if they were wearing a mask or a hoodie during the incident but let their guard down and removed this later after leaving the scene, it could help police to identify them.

‘A simple intruder-detection system could trigger the identification of all video data containing other observations of the intruder. This data could then be isolated into a secure archive, leaving everything else to be safely deleted.’

The project, which started in February this year to continue for 36 months, will devise techniques to automatically delete certain recorded data while information that is relevant from a security perspective will be retained.

According to Kingston University, this will limit unnecessary data storage, protecting citizens’ rights to privacy, and make potentially important CCTV footage available to police, reducing the need to scour hours and hours of footage.

The research will devise technology to address two current problems with video surveillance — what should be archived and who should be able to access this data.

The research team will develop technology to identify when a potential incident occurs, such as a riot, fight, loitering, suspicious behaviour around a shop or cash machine, or left luggage in a public place, which would be known as a ‘trigger’.

Once a trigger incident has been identified, staff monitoring the systems could be alerted so they could analyse the footage.

A UK airport has tested a new video-surveillance system that can tag suspicious individuals and then track their movements across multiple cameras over a dispersed area. Click here to read more.