Sagem, a French telecoms company, has collaborated in the development of a CCTV surveillance system that is making advances in tracking.
The new system would enable an operator to choose a suspect and follow him through dense crowds, despite any subsequent changes in appearance. The system has been developed by scientists at the defence company BAE Systems, the University of Reading and Sagem.
Present CCTV surveillance becomes ineffective when a suspect mingles in a crowd or even takes off his jacket. Police officers will be able to use the technique to trace an individual's movements on recorded footage after a terrorist attack or serious crime.
The new system will be able to pass information from one CCTV camera to another, and can be programmed to pick out potential suspects by detecting suspicious body language.
It works by attaching approximately 30 tags on small clusters of pixels on the footage, fixing them on different parts of the subject. As the subject is filmed, it locks on to these tags and the computer is able to follow the target’s exact progress on the film as he moves about.
The project has been funded partly by the European Commission. The Integrated Surveillance of Crowded Areas for Public Security project is part of a joint initiative in Europe to develop security systems for potential deployment around the continent.