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‘Super Recognisers’ selection

In late November, a second group of officers from Thames Valley Police took part in a Super Recognisers selection and training course.

Such training featured in the November 2019 print edition of Professional Security magazine, which included a live exercise for the trainees around Covent Garden (pictured) in central London.

The Thames Valley force covers three English counties – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. This was the first time the course had been run entirely online, with Super Recognisers International Ltd delivering what Detective Inspector Steve Jones described as “a really informative and beneficial product for our staff to test their skills in the art of super recognition.”

The 13 police students were tested on their ability to recognise and memorise faces from a range of moving and still images. The results were recorded and scientifically analysed by a team from Greenwich University, headed by psychology Prof Josh Davis, who updated the course on his latest research.

Super Recogniser ability is rated by a ‘Z’ score. On this course, students ranged from minus ten to plus three. A score of 0.5 or over results in classification as a Super Recogniser and anything above one is excellent; Sergeant Nick Perks from Aylesbury scored +3.52. The course lead, retired Met Detective Chief Inspector Mike Neville, described him as being “Exceptional …..a super, super recogniser!”

The feedback from the course included comments such as:

“I…found the course incredibly informative and interesting. It was fascinating hearing about the use of SRs from an investigative point of view and something I’ll be taking away for the future.”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed it and got loads from it.”

DI Jones added: “During times of austerity, where we need to make best use of our resources and spend wisely – what better than to utilise the skills our officers and staff already possess! The use of Super Recognisers to link offences, to enhance the process of serious crime CCTV reviews, to spot potential offenders in a crowd before they commit offences are just some of the great ways Super Recognisers can be used. And it’s not just limited to police officers! We also have staff from departments such as CCTV and control room, so it really is an inclusive role.”

Lord Lingfield, the Chairman of the Association of Super Recognisers said: “It is wonderful to see Thames Valley Police making use of super recognisers to enhance their crime fighting capacity. I look forward to conferring upon Detective Inspector Jones the Honorary Fellowship of the Association of Super Recogniser to acknowledge his exemplary work in promoting this new field of policing.”

Thames Valley Police have plans for a further course in 2021 and a number of staff are already on the waiting list. Any police, military unit or security company wishing to hold a similar bespoke course for their staff should contact Mike Neville – email [email protected] to discuss dates and prices.

Individual officers or members of the public can book a place on the next open-to-all on-line course, due to run from February 23 to 25, 2021. Members of the Association are entitled to a discounted price.

Mike Neville was a speaker at ST19 Dublin, also featured in the November 2019 edition.


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