Met Police retrospective facial recognition

September 2021

WIRED has discovered that London's Metropolitan Police Service is buying a new, retrospective facial recognition system that will enable them to process historic CCTV, social media, and other images when identifying and tracking down suspects.

Critics are concerned the system, which extends the Met's existing facial recognition capabiilities, could easily be used for other purposes, and may entrench racially and otherwise discriminatory policing.

The Met's contract was discovered when the Mayor of London's office published an approved proposal for the system, which forms part of a £3 million, four-year deal with NEC Corporation's UK subsidiary Northgate Public Services.

Developer: Northgate Public Services (NEC)
Sector: Govt - police
Identify and track criminal suspects
Technology: Facial recognition (retrospective)
Privacy; surveillance; dual/multi-use; bias/discrimination - racial, ethnic