Police criticised for plans to use facial recognition cameras at Cardiff v Swansea match

South Wales Police has been criticised for its plans to use live facial recognition surveillance at this Sunday’s Cardiff City v Swansea City football match.

Fans, rights campaigners and a Police and Crime Commissioner say the plans are “a step too far”.

South Wales Police used the surveillance technology last October at another match between the two sides, attracting protests from fans.

A heavy police presence at the last game between Swansea City and Cardiff City in October Credit: PA Images

Use of facial recognition cameras is currently being challenged in two separate human rights cases that claim the surveillance breaches privacy rights.

One challenge is being brought by civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch and Green peer Baroness Jenny Jones against the Metropolitan Police – who have since paused use of the technology; a further challenge is being pursued by Dr Ed Bridges against South Wales Police.

The 36-year-old argued that the force's use of the technology caused him "distress" and violated his privacy and data protection rights by processing an image taken of him in public.

The technology is being used for the second leg of the South Wales derby Credit: PA Images

South Wales Police say the measures keep football fans safe.

It said those who have previously been convicted of offences at football matches are on the official "watch list" and all have valid banning orders in place.

The technology uses special cameras to scan the structure of faces in a crowd of people

In the wake of a string of legislative bans of facial recognition surveillance in the US, including in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Somerville, the pressure group Big Brother Watch is calling for an “urgent ban” in the UK.

The Football Supporters’ Association Wales intends to protest the police monitoring at this weekend’s match with Big Brother Watch.

The Football Supporters’ Association Wales said it would once again protest against the technology being used at football matches.