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Eight people arrested in Romford town centre after use of facial recognition technology

PUBLISHED: 08:01 01 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:50 01 February 2019

Police were outside of Romford station in South Street. Photo: Met Police

Police were outside of Romford station in South Street. Photo: Met Police

Met Police

Eight people were arrested during the Met’s deployment of live facial recognition technology in Romford town centre yesterday.

Posters in Romford town centre. Photo: Met PolicePosters in Romford town centre. Photo: Met Police

Three arrests A, B and C, were as a direct result of the facial recognition technology identifying individuals wanted by police for violence offences. The other five arrests, D, E, F, G, H were proactive arrests as part of the wider operation.

A -A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of robbery. However he was later assessed as no longer wanted and released with no further action.

B -A 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment and kidnapping and taken to an east London police station.

C- A 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of breach of a molestation order and taken to an east London police station.

Posters in Romford town centre. Photo: Met PolicePosters in Romford town centre. Photo: Met Police

D- A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm and taken to an east London police station.

Two boys (E) – 14-years-old and (F) – 14-years-old] were arrested on suspicion of robbery and taken to an east London police station.

Two men (G) 46-years-old and (H) 25-years-old, were arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs. They were dealt with via a community resolution.

The deployment was also due to continue today (Friday, February 1) however due to adverse weather forecasts, the trial will be rescheduled for another date.

Commander Ivan Balhatchet, strategic lead for live facial recognition, said: “The technology used in Romford forms part of the Met’s ongoing efforts to reduce crime in the area, with a specific focus on tackling violence. Use of the equipment at Romford Town Centre resulted in several arrests for violent offences.

“In anticipation of adverse weather conditions, the decision has been made to reschedule the second day of deployment to a later date. We must ensure each trial deployment of this technology is as effective as possible. We aim to carry out each trial in areas where footfall is expected to be high to ensure all aspects of the technology are being tested thoroughly. Given the weather forecast, we expect footfall to be low and have therefore made the decision to reschedule.

“As with all previous deployments the technology was used overtly. 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 operational activity.”

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