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Met challenges figures published in relation to Live Facial Recognition

News   •   Jun 21, 2019 15:52 BST

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) challenges figures quoted in an article that appears in today’s Daily Telegraph, titled ‘Police trials of facial recognition technology should be banned immediately’.

Since 2016, the MPS carried out 10 deployments of the technology across the Capital. The technology was frequently and thoroughly evaluated throughout the trial period and proved that on average, there was a false positive identification rate of 1 in 1000 - which is the frequency of false positive alerts among recognition opportunities for individuals not included in the watch list.

As such, the statistics quoted in the article are inaccurate. The MPS continually reviewed the technology during and post each trial deployment. Had the identification rate been ineffective, as suggested in the article, the trial would have been discontinued immediately. The MPS simply does not have the resource to invest time or money developing new technology if it does not work.

It is also important to note that when using the technology, further checks and balances were always carried out before police action was taken. The final decision to engage with an individual flagged by the technology was always made by a human. 

The public rightly expects the MPS to use all available and proportionate means to catch violent offenders and it is absolutely right that we trial emerging technology that helps us do so.

The organisation is fully committed to being transparent and accountable to the public. The trial period has come to an end and the MPS will consider all information available before coming to any decision on how the technology may be used by the force in the future.