Welsh forces roll-out facial recognition app


South Wales and Gwent police have announced the deployment to officers of a new mobile phone-based facial recognition app.

According to a statement, the app will “enable officers to confirm the identity of a wanted suspect almost instantly, even if that suspect provides false or misleading details. Cases of mistaken identity will be easily resolved, without the need for a trip to a police station or custody suite.”

The solution will be made available to 70 officers across the two forces during an initial testing phase, lasting three months. The app will be known as Operator Initiated Facial Recognition.

Speaking of the roll-out, South Wales assistant chief constable, Mark Travis, said: “This new app means that with the taking of a single photograph - which is then compared to the police database -, officers can easily answer the question ‘Are you really the person we’re looking for?’.

“I want to stress that this new technology doesn’t replace traditional means of identifying people, and that our police officers will only be using it where it is both necessary and proportionate.”

Gwent assistant chief constable, Ian Roberts, said: “Embracing technology and innovation is an important part of policing and how we continue to keep people safe. This new app will be a valuable tool to help officers identify vulnerable or missing people, saving time and reuniting loved ones quicker. It can also provide identification of someone who is unconscious or seriously injured and unable to communicate who they are.”

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