Buoyed by the success that CCTV images played in catching rioters in Birmingham last summer, West Midlands Police has launched a new and innovative plan to catch the city’s criminals using social media and QR codes.

Part of their Serve and Protect operation, the force has started a gallery of the most wanted local criminals on its website. Listing their name, age and offence alongside the photograph, it is hoped that results will be seen quite quickly.

To further engage with the public, the ‘rogues gallery’ will also be displayed throughout the city on digital vans. These mobile electronic billboards will include a QR code too, allowing smartphone users to instantly download the images.

Used by many retailers and event organisers, it shows that QR codes are really starting to enter the mainstream.

The gallery will feature the details of 100 people that the police want to question about all manner of crimes – from burglaries and fraud, to assaults and murder. Also pictured will be those who have been linked to crime scenes by forensic means.

Announcing the initiative, assistant chief constable Garry Forsyth said:

“The support we received following last August’s riots when we asked for help to name looters and rioters caught on CCTV (helped lead) directly to many arrests and convictions.”

The West Midlands has seen a significant drop in crime over the last year and Forsyth is clear that the public have played a huge role in that, as he went on to say:

“When the public and police work together we can achieve great things and help make our neighbourhoods safer, more pleasant places to live.”