Where someone's facial image is captured side-on or at an acute angle, the facial data can be extrapolated and compared with a database, but the process takes time.
Now biometrics specialist OmniPerception - whose technology is widely used by police and border control agency staff - claims to have developed software that can handle side-on facial recognition in real-time.
The company's CheckPoint.S system is claimed to be unique in the biometrics industry as it can capture an image and recognise a suspect as they walk past the camera.
The suspect does not, says the firm, have to directly look at the camera because the technology is so advanced that it is capable of extracting the facial features from the image and compares these against images already stored in an existing database.
As well as accurately identifying possible criminals, the technology can also be used to confirm the identity of VIPs looking to enter premises such as hotels and casinos.
Stewart Hefferman, OmniPerception's CEO, says that the technology could prove an effective tool in the fight against crime, terrorism and identity theft.
"One of the principle challenges for police and law enforcement agencies is to prove the identity of a wanted individual. CheckPoint.S uses the unique biometric features of a persons facial features to provide real-time facial identification", he said.
"We are really excited at the potential that exists to use CheckPoint.S as a valuable resource to combat crime, terrorism and identify theft and enhance the safety and security of our public spaces", he added.