London Policing Ethics Panel to review use of facial recognition

The use of facial recognition by police in the UK is facing a review from the London Policing Ethics Panel, PublicTechnology.net reports.

The UK operates a model of policing by consent, and in February the Greater London Authority’s Oversight Committee asked mayor Sadiq Khan to halt the technology’s use by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) while a legal framework for its application is established.

Khan told the committee that “the MPS is working hard to deliver an engagement strategy for future use of facial-recognition technology,” and that the MPS will establish a governance board to oversee its development.

Deputy mayor for policing and crime Sophie Linden will continue to work with MPS on facial recognition as it is trialed, Khan said.

“The committee was concerned that the Met has been trialing facial recognition technology, at Notting Hill Carnival for example, without the public really knowing about it,” said Len Duvall, chair of the GLA oversight committee. “We believed the Met risked losing the public’s trust if it introduced intrusive technology like this, without public consent.”

Duvall added: “Policing by consent is an important principle within our society and is not just a tick box exercise. It’s also good to hear the Met is developing an engagement strategy for the use of facial recognition technology.”

The use of facial recognition at the Notting Hill Festival drew criticism from civil liberties groups and allegations of institutional racism on the eve of last year’s event.

The UK has also been anticipating a biometrics strategy from the Home Office since 2012.

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