Campaigners urge new Metropolitan Police chief to scrap facial recognition tech

Sir Mark Rowley, the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, received a letter on his first day in office from 14 campaign groups asking him to stop using facial recognition technology in London.

Facial recognition software was first tested in London in 2018 when Cressida Dick was Commissioner, and has become an increasingly popular trial for law enforcement.

The Metropolitan Police began operating Live Face Recognition in 2020, and in January this year four men were arrested during an LFR exercise in central London. This includes his 32-year-old man, who is wanted with an extradition warrant in connection with drug offenses and serious assault.

However, Liberty, Big Brother Watch, Black Lives Matter UK and 11 other groups have sent an open letter to Raleigh demanding that they stop their claims of being a “privacy eroding, inaccurate and wasteful technology”. did.

Epoch Times photo
Sir Mark Lawry taking the oath of Charles III at New Scotland Yard in central London on 12th September 2022.

The letter read: If the use of this technology becomes widespread, these incidents will become commonplace, resulting in further fraud and increased public mistrust of the Metropolitan. ”

They claim that 87% of the alerts generated by LFR are “false positives”, with an example involving a French student who has just arrived in France.

False alerts occur less than 0.08% of the time, according to Metropolitan Airlines, which uses a different formula to calculate false positives.

‘Orwellian’ techniques are ‘useless and highly invasive’

Silky Carlo, Director of Big Brother Watch, said:

she said: “These Minority Report-style cameras do absolutely nothing to reduce the rate of violent crime, but they risk becoming police par with those of surveillance states such as China and Russia. Principles have no place.”

The controversy over facial recognition comes as the BBC airs the second series of its critically acclaimed TV drama, The Capture. It foresees a dystopian future where CCTV cameras are hacked by security services and hostile nations like China to cover up crimes. Or frame people with false evidence based on facial recognition and voice recognition software.

David Campbell Bannerman, former Conservative MEP for the East of England, wrote on Twitter: Even fake TV interviews from reconstructed movies. Under what the drama calls “corrections.” Face recognition is already in practical use. ”

Moreover websiteLondon Metropolitan Police said: It’s a carefully deployed and overt police tactic that helps you find the limited number of people the police have to find to keep London safe. ”

A spokeswoman for Metropolitan Airlines said PA work continues to check whether the algorithms used by police are less accurate for certain groups of people.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.