The Metropolitan Police is in talks with specialist software companies to develop a system that pulls in user generated content from smartphones, following the amount of footage and evidence that was supplied during the summer riots in London last year.
It is hoped that the system will enable the Met to use smartphone generated content as supporting evidence to CCTV footage, according to the Telegraph.
Following the riots, it was reported that the government had considered shutting down social networks during the disruption, as they were considered to have accelerated problems.
However, following talks with Twitter and Facebook, government officials came to the conclusion that police should get better at using modern technology as an intelligence tool, as opposed to restricting it.
Ben Darby, a spokesman for StreamUK, the company that provides the BBC with its user-generated content software, ‘Media Hub’, has said that Met officials are concerned about how the system would cope during a peak, such as would have happened during the riots.
“The Met were enquiring primarily about storage and how large a platform would have to be to operate under a similar peak to the London riots,” said Darby.
“During the riots the [BBC] platform experienced a peak of 24,000 submissions, consisting of image, audio and video content.”
The Met Police are considering how they would use such a system and may not only issue public appeals for photographs and video, but also use it to pull content from websites such as YouTube.
A Met spokeswoman confirmed that discussions with software vendors were under way.
“As part of ongoing contingency reviews and planning we have explored a number of technical options to enhance our ability to capture high volumes of data sent to the MPS from external sources,” she said.
“We spoke to a number of companies about the solution they could offer that could best meet our needs and operational requirements.”
It was also recently revealed that the Met has rolled out a mobile device data extraction system to allow officers to extract data ‘within minutes’ from suspects’ phones while they are in custody.