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UK: Ethics Panel to consider use of facial recognition technologies

Staff Writer |
An independent panel that advises City Hall on the ethics of policing in London is to examine the use by the Metropolitan Police of facial recognition technology, and how they prioritise in the face of Government cuts to their budgets.

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The Mayor of London announced that a new Chair of the London Policing Ethics Panel, the ethical policy expert Dr Suzanne Shale, will review the Metropolitan Police’s use of facial-recognition technology as part of a wider look at digital policing.

Facial recognition technology has been previously used at the Notting Hill Carnival and the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph, and is one example of how the Met is using digital technology for surveillance and information-gathering.

The Panel will examine its use and present general recommendations to the Mayor on how digital technology can be used to keep the public safe whilst also respecting their rights as citizens.

In a second investigation, the panel will scrutinise how the Met sets its priorities to meet rising and changing demands at a time when its funding is being cut.

ince 2010-11, the Met’s general grant funding from the Government has fallen by more than £700 million, or nearly 40 per cent in real terms, on a like-for-like basis.

In recent years, the Met Police have had to find around £600m of savings and the Mayor has found a further £150million of savings since he took office.

The Panel will look at priorities set out in the Mayor’s Policing and Crime Plan as well as other demands faced by the Met in exploring the ethical dilemmas that officers face as they make decisions at a strategic and operational level about what to prioritise.

Dr Suzanne Shale, who will chair the panel, develops ethical policy and guidance, undertakes commissioned research, provides education and training, and offers one-to-one support for people seeking ethical direction in her role as an independent ethics consultant.

She has an international reputation for her work helping health care organisations to respond well when patients have suffered harm in their care.

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