Three arrested after last police trial of facial recognition technology in Romford

PUBLISHED: 12:44 15 February 2019

Three people were arrested following the trial in Romford yesterday. Photo: Ian Davidson

Three people were arrested following the trial in Romford yesterday. Photo: Ian Davidson

Ian Davidson

Three people were arrested during the Met’s deployment of live facial recognition technology in Romford town centre yesterday (Thursday, February 14.)

All arrests were as a direct result of the facial recognition technology identifying individuals wanted by police for violence offences.

A 35-year-old man [A] was arrested on suspicion of common assault, breach of a restraining order and harassment.

A 21-year-old man [B] with links to violent behaviour was arrested on suspicion of theft.

A 14-year-old male [C] was arrested on suspicion of robbery.

All three were taken to an east London police station where they remain.

Commander Ivan Balhatchet, strategic lead for live facial recognition, said: “The MPS has now carried out ten deployments of the live facial recognition technology and our trial process has come to an end. A full independent evaluation will commence and we will use the findings to help inform how the MPS uses the technology in the future.

“All 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.

“Tackling violent crime is a key priority for the Met and we are determined to use all emerging technology available to support standard policing activity and help protect our communities. The technology being tested is developing all the time and has the potential to be invaluable to day to day policing.

“We have engaged with many different stakeholders throughout the trial process, some of 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.

“The independent evaluation is expected to conclude in April and we endeavour to update the public and stakeholders on the findings and any future plans of using the technology in future.”

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