UK police force promises "careful supervision" during facial recognition deployment


South Wales Police has rolled out facial recognition technology to 50 of its officers as part of a three-month trial.

The force – which has been quick to point out that users will be under careful supervision during the deployment – have claimed that the app will help identify “persons of interest” instantly. 

Speaking of the deployment, deputy chief constable Richard Lewis said: “With a single photo officers will be able to access instant, actionable data, allowing to them to identify whether the person stopped is who they need to speak to, without having to return to a police station. 

“I want to stress that our police officers will only be using the new technology in instances where it is both necessary and proportionate to do so. The end goal [will always be] of keeping that particular individual, or the wider public, safe. We have given additional training to the officers who are part of the trial and will closely monitor the use of the app to assess its effectiveness.”

South Wales police and crime commissioner Alun Michael has likewise promised that each step in the process of rolling the technology out will be subject to independent oversight.

He said: “People want to know that members of the public who have done nothing wrong are not being subjected to inappropriate surveillance, and their privacy and anonymity will be respected and protected. We are committed to protecting human rights as well as keeping the public safe.”


Philip Mason
Editor, Critical Communications Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0)20 3874 9216