DUDLEY North’s MP inspected crime suspects during a look at a new weapon in the fight against crooks.

Ian Austin MP, who recently became a member of the House of Commons’ influential Home Affairs Select Committee, called at Dudley Police Station for a look at a new website called Facewatch.

The site enables users to input their postcode and view images of people wanted in connection with crimes in their neighbourhoods.

They can then anonymously identify suspects to officers via the site.

Ian Austin MP said: “Police rely on local people to help identify suspects, and this new tool makes it easier than ever for members of the public to help out.

“I want to see this sort of technology used more and more to help catch and deter criminals.”

The Facewatch service, which comes at no cost to taxpayers, instantly sends reports to a police contact centre and where they are passed to the appropriate investigation team; officers can then access full details of the crime and automatic update emails are sent to the victim.

West Midlands Police assistant chief constable, Garry Forsyth, said: “It’s an exciting development: this new technology helps us save time and money and enables us to offer a better service to local businesses. It’s a very useful tool in our fight against business crime.

“In addition, the mobile ID app means members of the public can help us identify crime suspects. The app allows them to search for suspects within a certain radius of a given location, perhaps their home or work address, and view their images.

“The system has already proved hugely successful in London where during the first few months of its launch the app had 100,000 downloads and images were viewed more than 8.5 million times.”

Facewatch can be downloaded as an app for smartphones and tablets or accessed at www.facewatchid.co.uk.