UK Police Arrest Man Using Facial Recognition for 1st Time

British police officers identified suspect via new AI-powered ID technology.

June 7, 2017 5:01 pm
Facial recognition technology
Facial recognition was used to make an arrest for the first time in the UK. (Getty Images)

British police have used facial recognition technology for the first time to make an arrest.

South Wales Police made the arrest on May 31st, but details were only released this week because it was part of an ongoing investigation.

Automatic Facial Recognition (AFR) was deployed in and around Cardiff to monitor crowds for suspects, missing people, or persons of interest at the Champions League Final, which occurred on June 3.

Facial recognition technology
A police facial recognition van is seen at the UEFA Champions Festival at Cardiff Bay on June 2, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Police arrested the man in the Cardiff area using AFR and said the man had a warrant out for an arrest. Mashable reports that it’s likely his photo was included in the Niche Record Management system, a catalog of 500,000 mugshots.

117 million Americans (half of all adults) are already in similar databases, according to a study by researchers at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology.

The AFR system has been in use by South Wales Police for the last 18 months as part of a trial with NEC, a tech firm that’s developed real-time facial identification.

Though, it’s not the first time the tech has been deployed in the UK. Leicestershire police scanned the faces 90,00 concert-goers at the Download Festival to check against its criminal database in 2015.

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