Police officers in South Wales have been trialling the new Facial Recognition App and the results have been very positive. This is the first technology of its kind in the UK to identify wanted individuals almost instantly in real time through a mobile phone app.
It will enable officers to confirm the identity of a wanted suspect almost instantly. The Facial Recognition App has been trialled by 60 trained officers from South Wales Police during a recent 3-month trial and has proven extremely successful.
What did the Facial Recognition App pilot involve?
The pilot of the App demonstrated that officers were able to bring offenders to justice more quickly, establish identities of vulnerable people who required assistance from the police and other partner agencies, and locate missing people.
Inspector Andrew Hedley, Operational Lead for Facial Recognition Technology commented:
“We are reassured by the positive results from this initial trial. This App has proven how digital technology can help our officers to confirm the identity of a suspect or a vulnerable person more quickly and accurately, saving our officers’ valuable time.
The App pilot has also demonstrated its importance in safeguarding the vulnerable and identifying missing individuals, enabling them to focus on protecting our communities. The results and feedback from the officers participating in the App pilot, will be used to conduct a further review of its functionality and effectiveness, and where there is potential to make improvements.”
Results of the Facial Recognition App pilot
The Facial Recognition App was used on 42 occasions on 35 persons. It was successfully used in a range of different situations helping officers to identify individuals effectively. Here are some examples:
Officers used the App to correctly identify a shoplifter who provided false contact details. Once the correct details were found, the suspect admitted to lying to officers and confirmed his correct details. The suspect was then arrested for theft and obstructing police.
A high risk, 15-year-old person had been reported missing and circulated by another police force. He had previous links to the South Wales area. This information resulted in officers speaking to a male who they believed matched the description of the missing person. When the individual refused to provide their details, the App was used to take photos that matched this missing person. He was safeguarded by officers.
Officers were called to reports of an intoxicated male in a street. He was unable to speak with officers and had no identification on him. Officers used the App, to correctly identify him and his address. He was taken to his home and left in the care of appropriate persons.
As a result of using the Facial Recognition App:
11 arrests in total were made
4 persons were reported for summons for offences
Safeguarding measures were used in 5 cases.
Facial Recognition Technology is used when it is necessary and proportionate to do so. It is another technological advancement to enable police officers to work more efficiently and effectively and keep individuals and communities safe.