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Dhaka Tribune

Police using software to sketch faces of suspects

Update : 21 Apr 2016, 01:46 AM
Police have started using a facial composite software that can create sketches of criminal suspects' faces based on descriptions provided by victims or witnesses. The Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) introduced the face drawing and identification solution software at the start of April, PBI Special Superintendent of Police Ahsan Habib Palash told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Although such tools are widely used by the police across the world, this is the first time that Bangladesh has introduced such a crime-solving technique. The software was purchased from England for over Tk2 crore, while PBI officials were trained there to ensure they can get the maximum use of the software. The sketches are made when victims report a crime at police stations and describe the facial features of the suspect. The software has different patterns of geometry and texture, including facial features and hair styles, to produce a lifelike sketch. “In primary examinations, the newly introduced tool seems to have satisfactory outcome. Once the officials get acquainted with it through more training and first-hand practical experiences, it will come out with more efficient outcome,” PBI's Ahsan Habib added. Not only the PBI, but other law enforcement agencies and civilians can also use the tool if they find it necessary, he added. It is expected that the software can help authorities solve criminal cases in a more speedy manner than traditional procedures. Zia Rahman, head of Dhaka University's criminology department, said there might be limitations to the software but it would still help in identifying suspects in criminal cases. Omar Faruk, associate professor of criminology and police science at Maulana Bhashani Science and Technology University, welcomed the introduction of the software. However, he said this can only be a supportive tool to identify criminals. The weakest point in a scientific approach to criminal investigation in Bangladesh was the lack of a criminal database or a national offender profiling system in the country, Faruk said. “The software cannot help identify and detect criminals if the other requirements cannot be given into the software properly. The police can take an idea from the software if all input goes well, but the absolute picture cannot be made through the tools,” he said. He emphasised on the need to set up a database and increase field-level intelligence activities to get efficient output from the software. Former inspector general of police, Hafiz Uddin, told the Dhaka Tribune that police identify criminals using different clues like finger- or foot-print, photograph and DNA profile analysis. The facial composite software was also an element to identify suspects, the former IGP said, expressing his hopes that the tool would now contribute to the prevention of crime. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the software was introduced as part of the effort to keep law enforcing tools updated with the modern world. It would help bring down crime, the minister said.
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