WMPs ‘memory man’ has a record-breaking year

A super recogniser known as the ‘memory man’ of West Midlands Police has broken his personal record for the number of crime suspects spotted in a year.

Feb 17, 2020
By Tony Thompson
PCSO Andy Pope

Police community support officer (PCSO) Andy Pope spotted 406 wanted men and women during 2019, including 16 in just one day.

As a super recogniser, the 42-year-old has the ability to recognise faces he has seen from CCTV, video stills and police briefings – and can recall faces weeks, months or even years later. Last year he recognised a man who had been wanted for two years for causing nuisance on train platforms across the Midlands.

PCSO Pope’s special abilities have led to arrests for offences ranging from attempted murder to theft and sexual assault. Since 2012, he has identified almost 2,000 suspects.

The officer patrols the region’s transport hubs as part of the Safer Travel Partnership team, but his identification skills are often used to assist other departments.

PCSO Pope said: “I take great pride in being in a position to help the force catch criminals and protect the public. I’m fortunate faces stick in my memory and I always make sure I spend time looking at the ‘most wanted’ briefings ahead of going out on duty.

“There are officers and staff across the force who do various roles to help keep the streets safe. I am just pleased I can contribute and hopefully there will be many more crime suspects I can spot in future.”

The Metropolitan Police Service launched its first super recognisers team in the aftermath of the 2011 London riots when it was discovered that certain officers showed an ability to spot suspects from different pieces of footage.

PCSO Pope was one of the first 20 people in the world to form the Association of Super Recognisers, which represents those who possess this ability.

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