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19 October 2021

Met Police purchase new retrospective facial-recognition system

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is deploying a new retrospective facial-recognition (RFR) technology in the next three months, allowing the force to process biometric information contained in historic images from CCTV, social media and other sources. Unlike live facial-recognition (LFR) technology, which the MPS began deploying operationally in January 2020, RFR is applied to already-captured images retroactively. Both versions of facial-recognition work by scanning faces and matching them against a set of selected images, otherwise known as “watch lists”, but the difference with LFR is that it does it in real-time by scanning people as they pass the camera. A procurement proposal approved by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) at the end of August 2021 shows a £3m, four-year-long contract was awarded to Northgate Public Services for the provision of updated RFR software, which the MPS said will help support “all types of investigations”. The main purpose of RFR is to assist in identifying suspects from still...

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