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UPDATE: Facial recognition deployment in Westminster

News   •   Dec 20, 2018 17:43 GMT

Four individuals have been arrested following the Met’s deployment of facial recognition technology in Westminster on Monday, 17 and Tuesday, 18 December.

Two of these arrests, [A] and [B], were as a direct result of the facial recognition technology identifying individuals wanted by police for violent offences. The other two arrests, [C] and [D], were proactive arrests as part of the wider operation.

A 40-year-old man [A] was arrested on suspicion of malicious communications (threatening to commit rape).

A man, aged 35 [B], was arrested on suspicion of assault on police and subsequently failing to appear in court.

A 27-year-old man [C] was arrested on suspicion of failing to comply with a notification under the Sexual Offences Act.

A further arrest [D] for drugs offences was made as a result of an offence being committed in the vicinity of officers deployed on the operation [no further details].

Commander Ivan Balhatchet, strategic lead for live facial recognition, said: “It is important to note all the faces on the watch list used during the deployment were of people wanted by the Met and the courts for violence-related offences. As with all previous deployments the technology was used overtly.

“The Met is currently developing the use of live facial recognition technology and we have committed to ten trials during the coming months. We are now coming to the end of our trials when a full evaluation will be completed.

“We continue to engage with many different stakeholders, some who actively challenge our use of this technology. In order to show transparency and continue constructive debate, we invited individuals and groups with varying views on our use of facial recognition technology to this deployment.”