London – The Metropolitan Police on Friday said officers plan to deploy live facial recognition (LFR) technology to help cut serious crime in London, drawing criticism from human rights groups.
Following trials in the capital and other British cities, the use of the technology will be “intelligence-led and deployed to specific locations in London,’’ the police said.
It will help “tackle serious crime, including serious violence, gun and knife crime, child sexual exploitation and help protect the vulnerable.”
The move is however opposed by some human rights groups.
“Rolling out #FacialRecognition surveillance tech is a dangerous and sinister step giving the state unprecedented power to track and monitor anyone of us,” tweeted Liberty UK, one of several groups that have fought legal battles over the technology.
The technology from Japanese-based NEC will give officers “an additional tool to assist them in doing what officers have always done – to try to locate and arrest wanted people,” the police insists.
Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said it was “an important development for the Met and one which is vital in assisting us in bearing down on violence.
“As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London,” Ephgrave said.
Ephgrave added that research suggested the public support police use of the technology.
“We are using a tried-and-tested technology, and have taken a considered and transparent approach in order to arrive at this point,” he said.
“Similar technology is already widely used across the UK, in the private sector.”