UK Committee questions legality of police use of live facial recognition

26/01/2024 | UK Parliament

On Friday, 27 January, the House of Lords' Justice and Home Affairs Committee published details of a letter sent to Home Secretary James Cleverley concerning questioning the legality of the use of live facial recognition (LFR) by police forces in England and Wales.

Following a short investigation, the Committee found that the deployment of the technology lacked a clear legal foundation, and there were no rigorous standards or systems of regulation in place for its use. 

The Committee has called for a clear and future-proofed foundation in law for the use of LFR technology, a legislative framework for its regulation, and consistency in training and use across England and Wales, which is open to independent scrutiny. The Committee also emphasised the need for public awareness and standardised communication before deploying LFR technology. The Committee has urged the government to address these issues to ensure that the public trusts the police in its operations while supporting the use of the technology.

In a statement, Baroness Hamwee, Chair of the Committee, asked: "Does the use of LFR have a basis in law? Is it actually legal?" She added that it is "essential that the public trusts LFR and how it is used. It is fundamental that the legal basis is clear. Current regulation is not sufficient. Oversight is inadequate."

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Metrolitan Police, facial recognition

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