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UK invests in 4 police vans with live facial recognition to cut knife crime

UK invests in 4 police vans with live facial recognition to cut knife crime

The UK government has announced investments in live facial recognition and research and development for remote scanning technologies as it attempts to curb an increase in knife crime in the Kingdom.

The government is allocating £4 million to combat knife crime, which includes over £500,000 to deploy four vans as mobile live facial recognition units. The announcement notes that 15 people were arrested in Croydon during December after being identified with real-time facial recognition.

Policing Minister Chris Philp suggests that the ability to identify more people on watch lists could result in more apprehensions of people committing knife crime.

Philp says he wants police to be able to detect knives carried by people with scans “at a distance of maybe 5, or 10, or 20 feet.” The scanning capability will be ready later this year, he hopes.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently endorsed the use of live facial recognition, which is generally not deployed elsewhere in Europe or the Anglosphere, as an opportunity to cut crime. Critics have seized on lapses in biometrics best practices and what they see as lax oversight to suggest that the UK should follow the EU’s lead on LFR.

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