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NEC facial recognition helps NT Police solve cold cases and increase public safety in Australia

Melbourne & Tokyo, 1 September 2015 - NEC Australia, along with NEC Corporation, today announced that it has partnered with the Northern Territory (NT) Police Force in Australia to implement leading edge forensic facial recognition technology to fight crime and keep communities safer.

As a leader in adopting innovative technologies to enhance public safety, the Northern Territory Government has deployed NEC’s NeoFace Reveal solution, an internationally acknowledged facial recognition technology, to help the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services fight crime and protect the community.

NEC Australia’s in-country Research and Development team based in Melbourne is working closely with NT Police to develop applications using NEC’s world leading facial biometrics technology that meet the NT Police operational requirements.

In choosing NEC's facial recognition technology, the government has selected the vendor that achieved the highest performance evaluation in the tests performed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (*).

The NEC system has now helped Northern Territory Police identify hundreds of individuals in support of its enforcement and safety responsibilities by enhancing the value of closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage for investigation purposes.

After an initial trial phase, the government has announced it will move to a second phase that broadens its application in crime fighting.

The system allows personnel in Northern Territory Police to rapidly search through their database of photos and match against any image or CCTV footage, as well as photos taken from body-worn camera videos, drones and phone images. The chief advantage of face recognition over fingerprint identification is that face images can be captured from a distance without touching the person being identified.

“This new facial recognition software has already helped police identify or rule out suspects and it is exciting to see it move to the next phase,” said Adam Giles Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.

To date, NEC’s face recognition software has assisted NT Police in identifying over 300 people, including:

  • a man who stole goods from a commercial premises at Casuarina Village, identified by CCTV footage;
  • a man who stole fishing equipment from a commercial premises at Berrimah, identified from CCTV footage;
  • a man who unlawfully entered Charles Darwin University, identified from a still image obtained by security; and
  • An unconscious man admitted to the Royal Darwin Hospital after having been seriously assaulted.

Like fingerprinting, facial recognition is a form of identification that allows a computer to quickly match similar faces based on facial features,” Police Minister Peter Chandler said.

The face recognition system plays a key role in NT Police’s investment in mobile technology across handheld devices and image capture equipment.

There are currently 190 cameras in the network monitored by the police department’s CCTV unit, in addition to the recently deployed mobile CCTV units that can be moved on-demand to ‘hot spots’ and major public events. The government has also issued 1,330 tablets to police officers and installed satellite communications in 51 police vehicles in remote locations.

So far, 100,000 images have been copied into the system database from existing Police information holdings.

“Footage or images captured on CCTV footage are submitted to NT Police’s facial recognition team who can load it into the facial recognition system for analysis and comparison with existing images in the database,” said Mr Chandler.

During the initial trial in early 2015, police used the system to successfully identify around 300 individuals from photos and CCTV footage, helping police solve crimes and prevent threats to safety.

“The technology is helping reduce investigation times by enabling investigators to quickly identify or rule out suspects soon after a crime has been committed,” said Mr Chandler.

“It could also assist police to identify missing persons and also those in the community who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other similar health issues to assist police in getting them the care they need.”

NEC’s biometrics identifications technology, including fingerprint identification and facial recognition, is used in systems provided to over 40 countries across the globe.

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For media enquiries please contact:

Angela Coombes
Public Relations Manager
NEC Australia
T: 02 9930 2234
M: 0417 805 441
E: angela.coombes@nec.com.au