Bernard Hogan-Howe – 2022 Comments on Live Facial Recognition

The comments made by Bernard Hogan-Howe, the crossbench Peer, in the House of Lords on 4 April 2022.

My Lords, I generally support the extension of facial recognition technology, although I take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, that it needs serious consideration. Technology is moving forward so fast that I think it is hard for all of us keep track of it. The three principles that the Minister might agree should underpin that are transparency of use, accountability about its use and that people should have a remedy. If things are done wrong, they should be able to check to see what they can do about it.

But the benefits are pretty outstanding. I know that, post the riots of 2011, we had to deploy 800 officers to look at 250,000 hours of rioters on CCTV footage. This allowed us to arrest 5,500 people over 18 months, but it took us 800 people. There has to be a smarter way of doing that. That would have been a retrospective use. Therefore, does the Minister agree that careful improvements in the future are wise, and that we should not stop, as the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, suggested, the use of it altogether?