14 Arrests in Croydon Using Live Facial Recognition

I am delighted to report that multiple arrests were made in Croydon town centre last Thursday afternoon following the experimental deployment of Live Facial Recognition (LFR). This is something I am pushing for nationally, and I am glad that the Met accepted my suggestion to further trial LFR in Croydon.
LFR starts with a “watchlist” of images of people who are wanted for serious offences or who are wanted by the Court for failing to attend a criminal hearing. A camera is then set up by Police in a location with high footfall, and advanced facial recognition software is used to see if anyone walking past matches one of the images on the watchlist. Is there is a match, the officers running the system are alerted and they intervene to see if the person is indeed the one wanted. The matching software is now incredibly accurate and advanced.
This has been deployed in Croydon town centre several times recently, including last Thursday afternoon on London Road and North End, on the junction with Church Street. Arrests for the following offences were made in a matter of just a few hours:
• Possession of firearm
• GBH
• Failure to appear in court for theft
• Failure to appear in court for GBH
• Failure to appear in court for assault on an emergency worker
• Possession of a weapon with point or blade, drugs and burglary
• Breach of non-molestation order
• Failure to appear in court for ABH on police and drugs offences
• Failure to appear in court for ABH
• Fraud by misrepresentation
• Failure to appear in court for theft
• Failure to appear in court for assault on an emergency worker
• Failure to appear in court for drunk and disorderly behaviour
• Breach of tag conditions by a convicted drug supplier
This deployment took 14 potentially dangerous people off the streets. The identity of the people stopped was verified separately from the facial recognition system, and no false alerts were generated.
There are safeguards around privacy and accuracy. Any passer-by who is scanned and who is not on the watchlist is immediately and automatically deleted. The system is governed by detailed rules set out by the College of Policing, and there is case law setting out the legal requirements of the system. This includes accuracy and no bias.
The system has been tested by the National Physical Laboratory and at the setting used meets the legal requirements (it delivers no bias and a 1/6000 accuracy rate). There are also signs displayed that LFR is being used.
I am delighted that these potentially dangerous people have been taken off the street. There are further LFR deployments planned in Croydon in the near future and I am pushing for this technology to be rolled out nationally, within the rules and guidelines to safeguard privacy. This technology has the potential to ensure that huge numbers of wanted criminals are caught.