Met Police will continue to use facial recognition to catch shoplifters

19/10/2023 | BBC News

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is preparing to use facial recognition technology to help identify and arrest London's most prolific shoplifters. The technology can compare facial features from CCTV stills with custody images within 60 seconds. 

According to BBC News, the MPS has already identified 149 suspects from 302 CCTV stills, some of whom are wanted for multiple offences. The police have requested CCTV images from 12 leading London retailers of their top 30 unidentified offenders. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the results are "game-changing" and that the technology could revolutionise how the police investigate crimes and focus their efforts more precisely. He also claimed that most of the offenders were career criminals involved in serious crime.

In a statement responding to the news, Mark Johnson, advocacy manager at Big Brother Watch, said: "We urgently need a democratic, lawful approach to the role of facial biometrics in Britain, and without this, police forces should not be using this Orwellian technology at all. Strict rules govern police use of DNA and fingerprints, yet police are writing their own rules on the use of our face prints."

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