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Facial recognition technology expands to Southall

Southall has become the latest town in Ealing to have live facial recognition (LFR) technology being used by the Metropolitan Police following its launch outside Ealing Broadway Broadway on 3 April 2024.

Since being introduced, the police have said the technology has helped lead to the capture of wanted people. Among those was a man wanted for assault on an emergency worker.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Inspector Crystal Govers of the Met’s West Area Basic Command Unit which covers Ealing, Hillingdon and Hounslow said: “Live facial recognition can be used in a number of ways including such as to prevent and detect crime, find wanted criminals , safeguard vulnerable people & to protect people from harm. All to keep the people we serve safe in London.”

Inspector Govers added: “By doing so my officers are able to identify criminals in a real time, fast paced environment whilst gathering vital intelligence to ensure a safer brighter future for all communities that live on West Area.”

The introduction of facial recognition technology in Ealing comes after Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, Borough Commander for the West Area revealed to Ealing Business Club last month how it will help police in combating crime.

He said on 14 March 2024: “We now are starting to experiment with live facial recognition and we’ll be doing an all party policy briefing. That is controversial. But if we’re to keep a step ahead, we must start using that technology.”

In a response, to the introduction of the technology, one resident posted on X that the Met needs to show data on how it is being used. They said: “You need to publish the results of these operations to justify what you are doing. If it doesn’t result in significant arrests then it becomes mass surveillance for its own sake which the public will not support.”

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