Facial recognition tech in key shopping destinations leads to just 1 arrest despite 13,200 scans

Just one arrest has been made after the Metropolitan Police used controversial live facial recognition technology to scan thousands of people at the cities busiest shopping destinations.

Facial recognition CCTV cameras were positioned outside the Westfield Stratford shopping centre and London’s busiest shopping destination Oxford Street last month.

During its deployment more than 13,200 shoppers’ faces were scanned but just one arrest was made as a result, casting yet more doubt over the technologies efficacy.

On February 27 the CCTV van scanned 8600 people’s faces on Oxford Street, hoping to match them against a database of 7300 criminals wanted by the police.

READ MORE: Controversial live facial recognition tech scans shoppers on Oxford Street

The technology generated eight alerts for potential matches, seven of which incorrect.

When the technology was deployed outside Westfield Stratford, 4600 shoppers were scanned but not one match was made.

Campaign group Big Brother Watch (BBW), who picketed the both the van’s deployments stated that 93 per cent of those stopped during the Met’s previous 10 public trials were wrongly identified.

A further study published in January by a surveillance expert from Essex University Professor Pete Fussey, who conducted the only independent review of the Met’s trials, found that just 19 per cent of people identified were done so accurately.

The Met has contested these figures, stating that their system correctly identified 70 per cent of people who walked past the camera, with an error rate of just 1 in 1000.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said the technology was being used in a “proportionate, limited way that stores no biometric data”.

She added: “We believe this has the support of the public and a very strong legal basis.

“The only people who benefit from us not using 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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