Police in the UK have already Live Facial Recognition (LFR) to monitor political protest, and at the policing of large public events.
For example, South Wales Police has used LFR on at least 61 occasions since 2017 at concerts, shopping centres, sporting events and at least one political protest. In 2018, this police force arrested 22 people after they were identified through facial recognition technology.
The use of LFR against antimilitarist demonstrators at a protest held outside the DPRTE arms exhibition at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena signalled a new phase of high-tech police repression of protest in the UK and made clear that one of the functions of LFR for police forces in the UK is the control of political dissent.
Additionally, all UK police forces currently have the ability to make searches of the Police National Database (PND) using facial recognition technology, that gives police the capability to match CCTV images with images stored on the PND. This is referred to as ‘facial searching’. The database includes images of people who have never been convicted of any crime.