Britain now has ‘largest facial recognition entry system’
02 October 2014 12:36 GMT

More than 1.4 million passengers a month used eGates this summer.

Britain’s ePassport gates are now processing more passengers with facial recognition than any other country in the world, according to a UK Border Force (UKBF) official.

When third generation ePassport gates are installed at London City Airport in September, it will be bring the number of biometrics entry devices to over 100 ePassport gates, operating at 12 of Britain’s busiest airports, said Sir Charles Montgomery, Director General, Border Force.

“More passengers use ePassport gates in the UK than any other country in the world, with over 1 million passengers consistently using ePassport gates each month, reaching 1.4 million in the summer months,” he said.

Britain’s ePassport gates, which use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in their ePassport, can be used by anyone with a UK or European ‘chipped’ passport who is aged 18 or over.

Details are automatically checked against Border Force systems and watchlists, with anyone rejected by the gates sent to an alternative channel.

The UKBF will play a bigger role in coming months as new powers in the Immigration Act enable carrier and port operator staff to play a role in carrying out exit checks, which are set to start from April 2015.

The body says that ongoing trials are helping to identify and establish the best and least intrusive method for delivering exit checks. This involves Border Force working closely with carriers, rail, maritime and air port operators. At this stage it is not believed that biometrics are under consideration for Exit.

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