Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

South Wales Police first force to make arrests using facial recognition

There have been 12 arrests made using Automated Facial Recognition Credit: PA images

South Wales Police are the first police force in the UK to make an arrest using special facial recognition software.

The force located a 34-year-old man wanted on recall to prison during the Champions League week in Cardiff last summer.

Since then, there have been 50 charges and 12 arrests using the technology, with 8 prison sentences handed down. The charges include theft, sexual offences, burglary, robbery and drug offences.

South Wales Police say they have addressed any concerns about privacy, and will continue the trial of the technology until March.

The overall effectiveness of facial recognition has been high, evidenced in part by the positive match figures of AFR Identify and the number of charges being brought against offenders. Our confidence in AFR as a valuable addition to our operational toolkit means that we will be extending the trial until March 2018 when an evaluation will be done in order to develop our findings further. Throughout the trial South Wales Police has been very cognisant of concerns about privacy and we have built in checks and balances into our methodology to make sure our approach is justified and balanced.

We have had detailed discussions with all interested regulatory partners, including the local Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the Home Office Biometrics Programme, as well as the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, to ensure that we are considering the wider needs in relation to the Data Protection Act and to ensure that the deployment of this technology is proportionate whilst recognising the need to balance security and privacy."

– Superintendent Alun Morgan, South Wales Police.

Automated Facial Recognition (AFR) 'Locate' is a real time solution which utilises live feeds from CCTV typed cameras based either at specific, fixed locations or cameras secured to the top of a police vehicle to locate people on watch lists.

Additionally, Automated Facial Recognition (AFR) 'Identify' allows officers to load images of persons of interest and compare them against half a million custody images for a possible match.

The software isn't limited to criminal investigations.

It can also help with identifying missing persons or those suffering from Alzheimer's or other similar health issues, which allow officers to safeguard the vulnerable, quicker.