UK police test out NEC’s facial recognition solution

A police force in an English midlands county have been testing out NEC Corporation of America’s facial recognition technology, which recently identified a suspect captured on camera within seconds, according to a report by BBC News.

The Leicestershire Police have been using NEC’s NeoFace system, which compares facial measurements taken from an image against a database which holds 92,000 images of people who have either been arrested or have volunteered to have their images stored, such as identity parade volunteers.

Police officers said the software has seen a “high success rate of identification”, based on early results.

Many local citizens have brought forth concerns of privacy regarding the technology’s use. However, senior officers have said that a match by the system does not constitute as evidence, but rather, would provide a more efficient method of searching for images.

In the past, digitized images of suspects were compared manually, a laborious process that would often take many hours, said police. In comparison, NeoFace “could save tens of thousands of hours of work,” according to Chief Inspector Chris Cockerill.

The majority of the images stem from footage taken by CCTV or police body cameras. The early tests of the NeoFace system saw a 45% identification rate while searching against a database of 200 suspect images.

The trial period of the NeoFace system will continue for the next six months, followed by an evaluation process. If deemed successful, the technology will be expanded throughout the East Midlands with each police force’s database of images available for the search process.

NEC features a promotional video that shows its facial recognition technology in action:

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