Leicestershire Police impressed with Facial Recognition

It was reported in July that Leicestershire Police had begun a trial with NEC’s facial recognition solution, NeoFace. Results during the trial period have been so impressive, with the BBC quoting early tests producing a 45% identification rate, that it has made the decision to purchase the software and continue using it.

SecurityNewsDesk spoke exclusively to ID Manager Andy Ramsay at Leicestershire Police who told us that the solution has been an amazing addition to the forces arsenal.

“We were so impressed by the results we saw during the trial of NEC’s NeoFace system that we have purchased the software,” he said. “As an identification tool it is magnificent and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Police forces from across the country have been visiting us to see how the system is performing and we highly recommend it.”

Ramsay explained that the only minor challenge with the solution is the need for a skilled operator to run the system. However, he explained the NEC were very supportive of this fact and even extended the trial period to ensure the team were entirely comfortable before purchasing.

In addition, Ramsay accredits a large portion of the success of NeoFace to the high quality of the images stored in Leicestershire Police’s database, which holds 92,000 faces on file.

He said, “All images stored in our database are taken using Northgate software and are very high quality. We believe this is a key factor in how well NeoFace fits into our system.”

When the BBC reported that Leicestershire Police was trialling the facial recognition software in July it quoted Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch, as saying that technology should be used only with a “high level of accountability and oversight”.

“Facial recognition cameras take the intrusiveness of CCTV to the next level, so it is absolutely essential that people are able to access meaningful redress when they feel their privacy is infringed,” she said.

However, Ramsay explains that intrusion on privacy should not be a cause for concern with the system in use.

“For our system to make an identification an image must already be in our criminal database, these are the only people that can be ‘picked up’ and matched,” he said. “We’re focused on identifying people who are inflicting harm on communities so that we can support police personnel on the ground.”

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