London police hold further face recognition trials
04 February 2019 15:34 GMT

London's Met Police have said live facial technology was deployed in Romford town centre on Thursday, 31 January and Friday, 1 February as the final part of the Metropolitan Police Service’s trial of the technology.

The MPS committed to carrying out 10 deployments as part of the live facial recognition trial. Eight have already taken place and the final two deployments will take place this week.

As with all previous deployments, the technology will be used overtly with a clear uniformed presence and information leaflets will be distributed to the public. Posters with information about the technology will also be displayed in the area.

The technology is being used in Romford as part of the Met's ongoing efforts to reduce crime in the area, with a specific focus on tackling violence. All the faces on the database to be used during the deployment are of people wanted by the Met and the courts.

In order to sufficiently test the technology, the deployment ran for about eight hours each day.

Anyone who declines to be scanned will not necessarily be viewed as suspicious, said the police in the statement, and officers will use their judgement to identify any potential suspicious behaviour.

If the technology generates an alert of a match, police officers on the ground will review it and further checks will be carried out to confirm the identity of the individual.

While the Met has been developing this technology, engagement has been carried out with a number of stakeholders.

The strategic lead for live facial technology for the Met, Detective Chief Superintendent Ivan Balhatchet, said: “The Met is currently developing the use of live facial recognition and our trial period is coming to an end".