Use of facial recognition software

The Citizens made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Cleveland Police as part of a batch sent to 86 authorities

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Cleveland Police.

Dear Cleveland Police,

I'm writing to you under the freedom of information act (2000) to ask whether your force / authority use facial recognition software in video cameras/CCTV cameras, or any other compatible device, both portable or static. Specifically, both Live Facial Recognition (LfR) or Automated Facial Recognition (AfR) software, from 2016- 2021.

1) I'd like to know about any trials or active contracts of facial recognition software.

2) I'd like to know which company / companies have been used / are being used.

3) I'd like to know the cost of this, either as a trial for the whole period it ran for, or the ongoing cost of it year by year.

Yours faithfully,

The Citizens

Freedom of Information, Cleveland Police

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References

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Freedom of Information, Cleveland Police

Enquiry Ref: 13129/2021

I acknowledge receipt of your request for information received by this office on 27th July 2021.

As set out by the Freedom of Information Act it will be our aim to respond to your request within 20 working days that is by 25th August 2021. In some cases, however, we may be unable to achieve this deadline and would hope to contact you should this be the case.

Although every effort will be made to ensure a response is provided within statutory deadlines, due to current circumstances delays may be unavoidable. We apologise for any inconvenience and will endeavour to process your request as quickly as is practicable.

Please note the ‘working day’ is defined as any day other than a Saturday, a Sunday, or a day which is a bank holiday in any part of the United Kingdom. The first reckonable day is the first working day after receipt.

If you have any questions regarding your request please contact this office.

Yours sincerely,

Information Rights Clerk
Directorate of Standards and Ethics
Cleveland Community Safety Hub | 1 Cliffland Way | Hemlington | TS8 9GL
Email: [Cleveland Police request email]
 
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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Freedom of Information, Cleveland Police

Dear Mr Colbert,

I write in relation to your below request. I must apologise for coming back to you so late but due to sickness within the office I am currently working alone.

I should be grateful if you could advise me what you mean by “any other compatible device either static or portable” inasmuch as, do you mean to only camera technology such as CCTV, Body worn video equipment etc.

I await you response to enable me to provide you with a response to your request.

Yours sincerely

Ms E McGuigan
Freedom of Information Decision Maker
Directorate of Standards and Ethics
Cleveland Community Safety Hub | 1 Cliffland Way | Hemlington | TS8 9GL
E-mail: [email address]

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“Delivering outstanding policing for our communities”

Please do not use social media or email to report crime as we do not monitor these accounts 24/7. Dial 999 in an emergency or visit the contact us section of our website for all reporting options.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Freedom of Information,

Hi there, Id be looking for information relating to CCTV, vehicular, or Body cam software please.

Yours sincerely,

Max Colbert
The Citizens

Freedom of Information, Cleveland Police

Dear Mr Colbert

Enquiry Ref: 13129/2021

I write in connection with your request for information dated 27th July 2021 and received by this office on that date. Please accept my sincere apologies for the late response due to sickness within the office, your patience is appreciated. Below are the questions raised in your request and our response?

I'm writing to you under the freedom of information act (2000) to ask whether your force/authority use facial recognition software in video cameras/CCTV cameras, or any other compatible device, both portable or static. Specifically, both Live Facial Recognition (LfR) or Automated Facial Recognition (AfR) software, from 2016¬ – 2021
1) I'd like to know about any trials or active contracts of facial recognition software.
a) We currently have one active retrospective facial recognition software on a trial basis not networked with any other devices either fixed or portable.

2) I'd like to know which company / companies have been used / are being used.
a) Kinesence
3) I'd like to know the cost of this, either as a trial for the whole period it ran for, or the ongoing cost of it year by year.
a) £6000 capital
In addition Cleveland Police would also rely upon the below exemption

Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) places two duties on public authorities. Unless exemptions apply, the first duty at Section 1(1)(a) is to confirm or deny whether the information specified in a request is held. The second duty at Section 1(1)(b) is to disclose information that has been confirmed as being held. Where exemptions are relied upon s17 of FOIA requires that we provide the applicant with a notice which: a) states that fact b) specifies the exemption(s) in question and c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

The Cleveland Police Service can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relevant to your request as the duty in s1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue of the following exemptions:
Section 24(2) National Security;
Section 31(3) Law enforcement;
This should not be taken as conclusive evidence that any other information that would meet your request exists or does not exist.
Sections 24, and 31 are prejudice based qualified exemptions and there is a requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or not that the information is held as well as carrying out a public interest test.

Public Interest Considerations
Section 24 – National Security
Factors favouring disclosure
The threat from national and international terrorism is ever present and the public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and resources are distributed within an area of policing. In the current financial climate of cuts and with the call for transparency of public spending disclosure would enable improved public debate.
Factors favouring non-disclosure
Disclosure of operational information, no matter how generic, cannot be in the public interest if ongoing or future operations or investigations to protect the security of the United Kingdom would be compromised. Security measures are put in place to protect the community we serve. As evidenced within the harm disclosure would have an impact on certain intelligence operations which could have implications for National Security.
Section 31 – Law Enforcement
Factors favouring disclosure
The release of this information would provide an insight into the Police Service and enable the public to have a better understanding of the effectiveness of the police in providing officers with an opportunity to work outside of their force’s jurisdiction in order to enhance their police knowledge and skills which assists in providing transparency in the way the Police Service carry out their day-to-day delivery of effective law enforcement.
Factors favouring non-disclosure
Specific information relating to the use of Facial Recognition would be valuable intelligence which could be manipulated to hinder law enforcement capabilities by providing a valuable asset to individuals and/or organisations wishing to commit crime. Vulnerabilities and capabilities would be highlighted. Offender’s intent on committing criminal behaviour could create a mosaic of data and build up a picture of known terrorist incidents and identify areas of vulnerability or non detection.

Balance test
Any disclosure under FOI is a release to the public at large. Whilst not questioning the motives of the applicant, confirming or denying that any other information relating to the covert practice of facial recognition is held would show criminals what the capacity, tactical abilities and capabilities of the force are, allowing them to target specific areas of the UK to conduct their criminal/terrorist activities. Confirming or denying information is held regarding the specific circumstances in which the Police Service may or may not deploy the use of facial recognition would lead to an increase of harm to covert operations and compromise law enforcement. This would be to the detriment of providing an efficient policing service and a failure in providing a duty of care to all members of the public.
The threat from terrorism cannot be ignored. It is generally recognised that the international security landscape is increasingly complex and unpredictable. Since 2006, the UK Government has published the threat level, based upon current intelligence and that threat is currently categorised as ‘substantial’, see below link:
https://www.mi5.gov.uk/threat-levels
The UK continues to face a sustained threat from violent extremists and terrorists. It is well established that police forces use covert tactics and surveillance to gain intelligence in order to counteract criminal behaviour. It has been previously documented in the media that many terrorist incidents have been thwarted due to intelligence gained by these means.
Confirming or denying whether any other information is or isn’t held relating to the covert use of facial recognition technology would limit operational capabilities as criminals/terrorists would gain a greater understanding of the police’s methods and techniques, enabling offenders to take steps to counter them. It may also suggest the limitations of police capabilities in this area, which may further encourage criminal/terrorist activity by exposing potential vulnerabilities. This detrimental effect is increased if the request is made to several different law enforcement bodies. In addition to the local criminal fraternity now being better informed, those intent on organised crime throughout the UK will be able to ‘map’ where the use of certain tactics are or are not deployed. This can be useful information to those committing crimes. It would have the likelihood of identifying location-specific operations which would ultimately compromise police tactics, operations and future prosecutions as criminals could counteract the measures used against them.
Any information identifying the focus of policing activity could be used to the advantage of terrorists or criminal organisations. Information that undermines the operational integrity of these activities will adversely affect public safety and have a negative impact on both National Security and Law Enforcement.

Please note any statistical data supplied in relation to Freedom of Information requests is a snapshot of data held at the time the request was received by the Freedom of Information office and is subject to constant change/updates.

The Cleveland Police response to your request is unique and it should be noted that Police Forces do not use generic systems or identical procedures to capture and record data therefore responses from Cleveland Police should not be used as a comparison with any other force response you receive.

If you are not satisfied with this response or any actions taken in dealing with your request you have the right to request an independent internal review of your case under our review procedure. The APP College of Policing guidance states that a request for internal review should be made within 20 working days of the date on this response or 40 working days, if extenuating circumstances to account for the delay can be evidenced.

We have made every effort to ensure a response was provided within statutory deadlines, however due to current circumstances delays have been unavoidable. If your response was late we apologise for any inconvenience it may have caused and thank you for your patience. If we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact this office.

Yours sincerely,

Ms E McGuigan
Freedom of Information Decision Maker
Directorate of Standards and Ethics
Cleveland Community Safety Hub | 1 Cliffland Way | Hemlington | TS8 9GL
E-mail: [email address]

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

       
Public Service | Transparency | Impartiality | Integrity

“Delivering outstanding policing for our communities”

Please do not use social media or email to report crime as we do not monitor these accounts 24/7. Dial 999 in an emergency or visit the contact us section of our website for all reporting options.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir