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Augmented reality, the police and stolen property

Thursday, November 17, 2011 in Blog reports thatĀ Tesco has today launched its first augmented reality programme that will allow customers to view 3D images of more than 40 products from the electronics and entertainment sections both instore or online.

Powered by augmented reality firmĀ Kishino, people can use computer terminals now located in seven Tesco stores across the UK to scan a product code or Tesco Direct catalogue.

Tesco has said that it hopes the use of augmented reality on customers’ home desktops will reduce the number of returns, as people can get an idea of the size of the product before ordering online.

Tesco is pushing hard in terms of integrating technology into the shopping experience, using semantic tagging within its product searches online and trialling wifi in some of its stores.



You can go to Audi and look at a new car on their AR system



so it got me wondering about police uses for AR…

AR codes on your fixed penalty notice that, when viewed, show you a licence being ripped up, or someone walking to work in the rain. AR codes on ‘don’t drink and drive’ material that show an image of the cells or (being sensible for a moment) AR images of recovered stolen property that people can view over the web, thereby saving visits to the police station and huge amounts of staff time. The additional bonuses are that you are potentially increasing the number of people who view the items and, by definition, the chances of reuniting property and owner (and getting a detection in the process).

Worth a thought. Any innovators out there?

Related posts:

  1. Making effective police/public conversations a reality
  2. Policing and the digital future
  3. Facebook: a useful and effective tool for police?
  4. The online world has operational implications for policing
  5. Social media at a crime scene: a Police Inspector’s story


  • Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 4:49 am: Christa M. Miller said:

    Not quite along the same lines as what you’re talking about, but I’ve always been taken with the implication of for tactical teams. To be able to overlay a schematic of a building on top of its exterior could be a boon to planners. For that matter, could there be value in overlaying crime mapping data on street corners, in neighborhoods and near businesses (or prospective properties)… how about traffic collision data, in order to help re-engineer trouble spots?

  • Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm: Mike Alderson (author) said:

    I guess the issue won’t be ‘is it a good idea’ (it is!), the inhibiting factor in any such development is likely to be the cost. As forces are sacking staff and coming to terms with drastically reduced budgets, I suspect that the appetite for tech development, no matter how valid and operationally sensible, will be severely limited!

  • Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm: Christa M. Miller said:

    Totally agree. Do you think this is where partnerships with universities might help — police forces serve as “guinea pigs” for research that gives them access to technology they wouldn’t otherwise have?

  • Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm: Mike Alderson (author) said:

    Certainly. However I think that it goes much wider than just universities. Partnership arrangements should be considered across the full range of opportunities provided they are congruent with the values of the organisations concerned. Poverty may actually drive some innovation in public services.

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