Live facial recognition will be included in PSNI biometric programme

The PSNI has said it will include live facial recognition in the force's biometric programme but has no start date for future use of the surveillance technology.

Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 5:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 6:27 pm
PSNI to include live facial technology in biometric programme.

The force has said it has engaged with the the Law Enforcement Facial Images and New Biometrics Oversight and Advisory Board, which oversees police use of automated facial recognition (AFR), live facial recognition (LFR) custody images and new biometrics.

"PSNI intends to include the use of facial recognition technology within its Biometric programme. There is no current project or date set yet for initiation of a project," the force confirmed in response to a recent Freedom of Information request.

The controversial crime-fighting tool came under sharp focus in the United States this week when the City and County of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors banned police from using it as part of a wide-raging anti-surveillance ordinance.

Agreeing the ban the US civic legislators stated: "The propensity for facial recognition technology to endanger civil rights and civil liberties substantially outweighs its purported benefits, and the technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring."

In its recent FoI response the PSNI said: "PSNI is engaged with the Biometric Modalities Oversight and Advisory Board that is chaired by a National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) member and brings together police forces and other interested bodies across the UK."

According to the British Home Office: "The board’s purpose is to look at the development and use by police forces of: facial image storing and matching systems; new biometrics other than DNA, fingerprints and facial images - this includes voice, iris, finger vein and gait recognition; sharing of facial images collected by police forces with other agencies."