The United Kingdom’s policing minister, Chris Philp, has revealed plans to integrate data from national databases including the Police National Database and the Passport Office into a single platform that would enable searches based on facial recognition. Philp disclosed the plan in a policy event attached to this week’s Conservative party conference, saying his aim is to have such a system in place in the next two years.
The integration aims to facilitate quicker identification of criminals with the “click of one button,” according to Philp. He elaborated that the technology has advanced to a point where even blurred images can be matched accurately. “I’m going to be asking police forces to search all of those databases—not just for shoplifting but for crime generally to get those matches,” he said.
Foreign nationals who are not in the passport database could also be identified through the immigration and asylum biometrics system. This will be part of an amalgamated system designed to help catch thieves and other criminals. The move comes as part of a broader strategy to utilize advanced technologies in policing, including biometrics and facial recognition.
This initiative aligns with previous efforts to enhance policing standards in the UK. In August, the national body for policing standards issued formal guidance instructing police to pursue all “reasonable lines of enquiry,” including the use of biometrics and evidence collected from CCTV cameras and home doorbells. Chris Philp noted that police in the country have a record level of resources, from staff to funding, to support these technological advancements.
Additionally, in September, ten major supermarkets in the UK agreed to participate in a police-led program called “Project Pegasus” to combat shoplifting. The retailers have contributed £600,000 to the effort, which involves loading CCTV images of shoplifters into the Police National Database. This enables officials to identify them using facial recognition technology, further emphasizing the growing role of advanced technologies in UK law enforcement.
Source: The Guardian
October 3, 2023 – by the FindBiometrics Editorial Team