Police surveillance of London’s road network could face legal problems

Privacy campaign organization Open Rights Group has teamed up with Green party politicians to challenge measures that would allow police to monitor the tens of thousands of motorists who drive around London every day.

The measure was taken without public consultation by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

In 2014, Khan’s predecessor, Boris Johnson, used traffic from Transport for London’s (TfL) Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) roadside cameras to track criminals and locate suspects’ vehicles. We have granted ‘limited access’ to our data to the Metropolitan Police.

In September 2021, ANPR cameras were critical in tracking down the Nissan Micra car owned by the killer of Sabina Nessa, who was murdered in a park in Kidbrook, southeast London.

But Open Rights Group announced in May this year that Khan (who was reelected to a second term in May 2021) would expand the scope of this data sharing to include vehicle color and make, driver images, and even He said he even included pedestrians.

Sian Berry, a Green Party member of the London Parliament, said in a statement to the Epoch Times: Londoners should have been asked whether they trust the police with this massive database of daily movements, because so many terrifying facts have made trust and confidence in the police so much lower than ever before. .”

Open Rights Group said its plans to expand the ultra-low emission zones monitored by ANPR cameras across Greater London from the end of 2023 means that all cars and drivers in the city will be subject to Metropolitan surveillance. I was. police.

Khan accused of ‘violating basic privacy rights’ of Londoners

Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group, said in the same statement: As a former human rights lawyer, Sadiq Khan should know that his decision to grant access to the Metropolitan Police without meaningful public consultation is illegal. “

Open Rights Group and Berry wrote to Khan urging him to reconsider the move and threatened to challenge his decision in court.

An independent advisory group on ANPR has described the move as a “huge increase in surveillance in London”, and now the Open Rights Group wants to challenge the legality of the move.

“The expanded ultra-low emission zone has already helped reduce air pollution for months without all this data being shared with police,” Berry said. The decision must be reversed in haste and the privacy of Londoners must be protected instead.”

Salima Budhani of law firm Bindmans said in a statement: The mayor had a clear obligation to provide information and seek input before approving the scheme. Had he done so, our clients and others would have had the opportunity to voice their concerns about privacy risks.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to the mayor of London for comment.

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.