Essex Police are trialling technology that will match suspects' images from CCTV cameras to photofit pictures.
The Facial Biometrics Researcher system will take images from cameras, artists' sketches and e-fits and attempt to match them with a database of over 160,000 images.
Run in conjunction with Securicor Information Systems and US biometrics company Visionics, Essex Police are using a system based on Visionics' FaceIt recognition software.
"Essex Police have been using Securicor's Video Witness for some time," said Detective Sergeant Steve Jones from the Essex Police Divisional Headquarters in Southend-on-Sea. "Biometrics is an exciting new technology, and I am hopeful that this system will prove that its time has come."
The news follows comments made to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee by Richard Brunstrom, chairman of the technical committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers.
He said that a network of roadside cameras that could recognise disqualified motorists and track fugitive criminals was the future of crime fighting.
Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales, said that 10 per cent of speeding drivers caught by number plate cameras avoided penalties. He expected such roadside cameras to be in operation within the next five years.
Around 50,000 people were prosecuted last year for driving while banned, but police believe that many more have escaped undetected.
Police in Newham, east London are currently experimenting with the cameras as a general anti-crime measure, and airports in the US have rolled out similar technology since 11 September.
But such measures have already caused concern over human rights abuses, and motoring organisations have reacted angrily.
"This idea raises a host of sensitive civil liberties matters which would require very careful examination," John Dawson, policy director of the Automobile Association, told the Daily Telegraph.
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