Soft-spoken and gentle-mannered, Constable Collins carries a baton and pepper spray, but no gun. His weapon is his memory: Facial recognition software managed to identify one suspect of the 4,000 captured by security cameras during the London riots. Constable Collins identified 180.
Evolutionary psychologists are intrigued by super recognizers. Their facial recall is rarely matched by photographic memory in other parts of their lives. Constable Collins, 48, who studied design before he became a police officer, has identified over 800 suspects but cannot remember a shopping list. “I have to write that down,” he said.
Scotland Yard employs more than 150 people for their facial recognition skills. Fascinating stuff.