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UK police call facial recognition trial at music festival a success

Police in Leicestershire, UK have called the trial use of facial recognition software at a major music festival a success, and have suggested that the technology could be used in other environments, according to a report by Burton Mail.

The move comes a few weeks after UK police force defended the use of facial recognition technology to identify some 90,000 attendees at the Download Festival at Donington Park in June and cross-checking them against a database of wanted criminals across Europe,

For the trial program, Leicestershire Police partnered with NEC to test NeoFace Watch outside the office environment to see if the software could work ‘in the field’.

“This was a controlled trial and the results clearly show that the technology does work in a mobile environment,” said Andy Ramsay, manager of Leicestershire’s identification unit.

The software scans the faces of individuals passing CCTV cameras and compares each captured image against a watchlist of wanted criminals.

If the image does not match with one of the criminals, it is deleted from the system.

However, if NeoFace Watch recognizes one of the faces, it immediately alerts the officers and staff.

Intelligence officers compiled a database of known offenders from across Europe who typically target large music festivals to commit crime, an enrolled their images into the system.

Police installed six cameras in a small area of the site for a portion of the festival. Since it was a controlled experiment, many officers and staff volunteered to have their photograph entered into the database and they were successfully recognized 77 times.

No individuals were arrested or evicted from the site as a result of the NeoFace software and the database of offenders and potential matches was permanently deleted at the end of the trial.

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