British bar owner’s innovation takes problem-oriented policing to the Internet

The London bar owner was fed up with petty thieves stealing from patrons.

So Simon Gordon, who had already invested in an extensive closed-caption television system, innovated an answer to his problem – and the problems of other London business owners victimized by small-time crooks.

He linked his closed-caption system to his computer, then immediately emailed video evidence of thievery, witness statements and other helpful information to police. The result: the handful of small-time crooks who terrorized his business were arrested.

“To catch the thieves you need to be quick and have evidence to make a conviction, the Internet made it quick and CCTV cameras properly positioned and accessible via a PC gave me the evidence so, I thought, why not send the whole lot directly to the police over the Internet?” he said. “Six months later we had a website that did this and our local policeman who loved it.”

A year later, 2,000 businesses are using a technology called Facewatch, which grew from his experiences.

This weekend, Gordon’s Facewatch was among thousands of technological advances on display at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in San Diego. This is Gordon’s first visit to the U.S. with the crime-fighting tool.

Nick Gordon, a project manager, said the company has spurred the curiosity of agencies looking to fight small-time crime in an era of reduced resources.

Gordon was invited to present the technology to an association of police chiefs from the largest U.S. cities.

The service is free to police – and businesses. “We all have to work together to fight crime,” Nick Gordon said.

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