Essex Police tests new facial recognition tech

Three people have been arrested, including one on suspicion of rape, as police used new technology this week.

Live Facial Recognition technology was utilised for the first time in Essex in Southend High Street on Tuesday October 24 and on Chelmsford High Street the following day, with the support of South Wales Police which owns the equipment.

The deployment was targeted to focus on a specific list of people wanted in connection with high harm offences, such as violent or sexual offences.

In total there were five positive alerts, with arrests made in connection with rape and robbery investigations, and an outstanding warrant.

Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings said: “This was a really positive first deployment of Live Facial Recognition technology in Essex.

“As a result of this deployment we have two suspects in custody and have arranged an interview in connection with another investigation.

Explaining how the technology works, Det Supt Jennings added: “The Live Facial Recognition technology compares live camera feeds of faces against a predetermined database or ‘watch list’ of people of interest.

“Only images of specific people wanted or suspected in connection with high harm and/or violent crimes appear on that database.

“When there’s a positive match, appropriate action is taken by officers on the ground.

“If you’re not on the ‘watch list’, your face cannot be matched.

“If you walk through an area where LFR is being deployed and you are not one of the specific people we’re trying to locate, your image will be immediately and automatically deleted.

For more information about Live Facial Recognition Technology, visit the website: https://www.essex.police.uk/police-forces/essex-police/areas/essex-police/au/about-us/live-facial-recognition/

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