See also: Profile on Met Police CIO Ailsa Beaton

The Metropolitan Police plans to develop a system that pulls in user generated content from smartphones as supporting evidence to CCTV footage.

The move follows the amount of footage and evidence that was supplied during the summer riots in London last year, according to the Telegraph.

During the riots that occured in metropolitan areas across the country last summer, the government is reported to have considered shutting down social networks, which may have been used by rioters to coordinate their movements.

However, talks with Twitter and Facebook convinced government officials that police improve their use of modern technology as an intelligence tool, not restrict it.

The Met Police are considering how they would use such a system and may not only issue public appeals for photographs and video, but also use it to pull content from websites such as YouTube.

A Met spokeswoman confirmed that discussions with software vendors were under way.

“As part of ongoing contingency reviews and planning we have explored a number of technical options to enhance our ability to capture high volumes of data sent to the MPS from external sources,” she said.

“We spoke to a number of companies about the solution they could offer that could best meet our needs and operational requirements.”

Ben Darby, a spokesman for StreamUK, the company that provides the BBC with its user-generated content software, Media Hub, said Met officials are concerned about how the system would cope during an emergency, such as the riots. 

“The Met were enquiring primarily about storage and how large a platform would have to be to operate under a similar peak to the London riots,” said Darby.

“During the riots the [BBC] platform experienced a peak of 24,000 submissions, consisting of image, audio and video content.”

It was also recently revealed that the Met has rolled out a mobile device data extraction system to allow officers to extract data from suspects’ phones within the space of a few minutes, while they are in custody.