Met Police begins operational use of Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology
Written by: Charlotte Hathway | Published:

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has announced today that it will begin the operational use of NEC’s Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology.

The technology will be intelligence-led and deployed to specific locations in London. It will be used to help tackle serious crime, including serious violence, gun and knife crime, child sexual exploitation and to help protect the vulnerable.

MPS has emphasised its view that this is not a case of technology taking over from traditional policing. The system will prompt police officers, but the officer will decide whether or not to engage with someone.

MPS’s assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave, commented, “This is 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. Independent research has shown that the public support us in this regard. Prior to deployment we will be engaging with our partners and communities at a local level.”

The MPS has said it will begin operationally deploying LFR at locations where intelligence suggests it is most likely to locate serious offenders. Each deployment will have a ‘watch list’ made up of images of wanted individuals, predominantly those wanted for serious and violent offences.

Cameras will be signposted and focused on targeted areas to scan passers-by, with officers deployed to the operation handing out leaflets about the activity. The MPS added that the technology is a standalone system; it is not linked to any other imaging system, such as CCTV, body worn video or ANPR.

Ephgrave added, “Every day, our police officers are briefed about suspects they should look out for; LFR improves the effectiveness of this tactic. Similarly if it can help locate missing children or vulnerable adults swiftly, and keep them from harm and exploitation, then we have a duty to deploy the technology to do this.”

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