Met boss blasts ’inaccurate’ facial recognition critics

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has again defended the use of facial recognition technology by the police, saying that critics of its use are ‘ill-informed’.

Responding to a report calling for tighter rules on police use of technology, Dick pointed to the eight criminals who had been caught using the controversial live cameras and claimed that ‘inaccurate’ critics should ‘justify to the victims of those crimes why police should not be allowed to use tech... to catch criminals’.

The report, from the Royal United Services Institute, analysed the use of data and algorithms by police in England and Wales, recommending that police should issue new national guidelines in this area.

The cameras scan people's faces and compare them to a list of wanted suspects. However, an independent review showed that most matches are false alarms, with only 19 per cent found to be accurate. Big Brother Watch has labelled it as ‘a highly controversial mass surveillance tool with an unprecedented failure rate [of] 93 per cent’.

Speaking at the report launch, Dick issued a strong defence of the use of data analytics by her officers.

She said: "If an algorithm can help identify, in our criminal intelligence systems material, a potential serial rapist or killer... then I think almost all citizens would want us to use it. The only people who benefit from us not using [it] lawfully and proportionately are the criminals, the rapists, the terrorists and all those who want to harm you, your family and friends."

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