Liberty responds to South Wales Police trials of mobile facial recognition

07 August 2019

Today, South Wales Police announced that officers would be equipped with mobile facial recognition technology, via an app. The force’s new use of intrusive technology comes while the case against their use of facial recognition, brought by Liberty client Ed Bridges, is yet to be ruled upon.

Hannah Couchman, Policy and Campaigns Officer at Liberty, said: “It is shameful that South Wales Police are rolling out portable facial recognition technology to individual officers while their so-called ‘pilots’ are being challenged by Liberty in court. This technology destroys our anonymity in public spaces, chilling our ability to take part in protests and increasing state control over every one of us.

“Far less intrusive means have been used for decades by police to establish a person’s identity where necessary. It’s a gross abuse of power for South Wales Police to roll out routine, on-the-spot biometric checks, and especially in circumstances where a person isn’t suspected of committing any crime at all. This technology is intrusive, unnecessary, and has no place on our streets.”