The Speaker
Thursday, 18 April 2024 – 22:08

Facial recognition cameras to be rolled out by police in London

Live facial recognition cameras will be used operationally by the Metropolitan Police for the first time on London streets, it has been announced.

The police force previously ran trials of facial recognition cameras in the capital, and it is hoped that the cameras will identify suspects wanted for serious and violent crimes. It is thought that the system could also be used to aid searches for missing persons.

Cameras are to be signposted and only used in certain targetted areas for around five to six hours at a time. However, the use of the cameras will likely prove controversial. Privacy campaigners have already described the plans as a “serious threat to civil liberties” and have vowed to launch legal challenges against its use.

Announcing the plans, Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said;

“We all want to live and work in a city which is safe: the public rightly expect us to use widely available technology to stop criminals,”

“Equally I have to be sure that we have the right safeguards and transparency in place to ensure that we protect people’s privacy and human rights. I believe our careful and considered deployment of live facial recognition strikes that balance.”

The Metropolitan Police has said that the technology is “tried-and-tested”, but privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch has said the plans represent “an enormous expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil liberties in the UK”.

It is thought the cameras could start appearing on London streets within weeks.

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