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King Charles: 11,500 police officers deployed to London streets for coronation with facial recognition tech in use

A police officer keeps guard ahead of King Charles' coronation, in London, Britain, May 3, 2023. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – More than 11,500 police officers are being deployed in London on Saturday, according to the London Metropolitan Police Service, and there are plans for facial recognition technology to be used in the capital.

It is the largest one-day deployment in decades, London’s Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said Wednesday.

These officers will be part of more than 29,000 deployments in the lead-up to May 6 over the rest of the weekend, according to a statement from the Met.

The Met said the operation — labelled Golden Orb — will see officers line the processional route, manage crowds and road closures, protect high-profile individuals and carry out searches with specialist teams.

There are also plans for facial recognition technology to be used in central London.

“The watch list will be focused on those whose attendance on coronation day would raise public protection concerns, including those wanted for offences or have an outstanding warrant for arrest issued by the courts, or those under relevant offender management programmes in order to keep the public safe,” the Met said.

“Our tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low. We will deal robustly with anyone intent on undermining this celebration,” the Met added.

Facial recognition concerns: Campaign groups have criticized the use of live facial recognition technology during the coronation.

It is expected to be the largest-ever use of the technology in Britain, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to line the streets on Saturday.

Privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch called it “an authoritarian mass surveillance tool that turns the public into walking ID cards,” describing the technology as “Orwellian.”

We all have the right to go about our lives without being watched and monitored, but everyone at the coronation is at risk of having their faces scanned by oppressive facial recognition technology,” Emmanuelle Andrews of human rights group Liberty said on Twitter. (CNN)

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