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Facial recognition cameras to take London surveillance to new level

Police said help it would be able to quickly identify and apprehend suspects and help “tackle serious crime, including serious violence, gun and knife crime, child sexual exploitation and help protect the vulnerable.”

London has faced several terror attacks and seen an increase in crime in recent years.

The cameras would be clearly signposted and officers will hand out leaflets about what is happening, police said.

British police tested the system at Cardiff City Stadium.

British police tested the system at Cardiff City Stadium.Credit:PA/AP

Facial recognition cameras have been deployed in other British cities and shopping centres but their use has prompted privacy concerns and opponents have questioned the accuracy of the technology.

Last year, a Cardiff man took South Wales Police to the High Court, arguing that his human rights had been breached by officers using automated facial recognition without his knowledge when he was shopping.

The court ruled that using the technology was lawful but civil rights group Liberty are appealing the decision.

Responding to the ruling last September, the government’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter, said that police should not see it as a “green light” for generic deployment of automated facial recognition.

“It is an intrusive tool with human rights and public confidence implications which have to be considered,” Porter said.

He has called for a moratorium on the use of live facial recognition systems until a fuller review can be conducted, The New York Times reported.

The EU is considering banning the technology in public places for up to five years to give it time to work out how to prevent abuses.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said in a statement: “We are using a tried-and-tested technology, and have taken a considered and transparent approach in order to arrive at this point.

“This is an important development for the Met and one which is vital in assisting us in bearing down on violence.”

He said police would begin operationally deploying LFR in places where intelligence suggests they were most likely to locate serious offenders.

AAP, agencies

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