Safer Travel superpower IDs a thousand suspects
Safer Travel PCSO Andy Pope
West Midlands Safer Travel Police’s “memory man” has now successfully identified 1,000 crime suspects.
Police Community Support Officer Andy Pope has spotted 250 crime suspects in just one year, using his “superpower” - a remarkable ability to recognise faces of some of the region’s most wanted people.
The PCSO patrols buses, trams, trains and transport hubs as part of the West Midlands Safer Travel Partnership. He can remember faces from CCTV footage, stills and police briefings.
With over 300 suspects being identified for bus-related incidents and nearly 50 for train incidents, Andy has significantly contributed to the reduction of crime on the region’s transport network.
“I am thrilled to have identified a thousand suspects and to know I’m helping to reduce crime on public transport. It’s hard to explain exactly how I remember so many faces - they just seem to stick in my mind.
"I am responsible for a couple of busy bus corridors. It’s my job to make them as safe as possible so passengers can enjoy a pleasant journey. If anyone is causing a problem for passengers, I want to be able to recognise them and find them.”
PCSO Pope spotted two men responsible for a knifepoint robbery on a bus, where the victim was stabbed in the leg. Andy watched pictures of the suspects and later spotted them at Birmingham Moor Street. After chasing them on foot, he caught the main offender. His partner PC Steve Dawkins obtained details of the other man. He was later arrested and charged, thanks to Andy’s photographic memory.
The Safer Travel Partnership, where West Midlands Police works alongside British Transport Police and transport operators, including National Express West Midlands, has cut crime on buses, trains and trams by 70% in the last ten years.