This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Police National Database Facial Recognition capabilities'.



 
 
 
 
 
 
c/o PO BOX 481 
Fareham  
Hampshire 
PO14 9FS  
Tel: 02380 478922  
Email: xxxx.xxxxxxx@xxx.xxx.xxxxxx.xx  
 
 
 
 
19/03/2015 
 
 
 
Dear Ms King 
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NUMBER:   000043/15 
 
Thank you for your request for information regarding facial recognition system which has now been considered. 
 
Applicant Question: 
 
As per the annual report from the Commissioner for the Retention and Use of Biometric Material (Biometrics 
Commissioner): 
 
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/387601/45428_Biometrics_Annu
al_Report_ACCESSIBLE.PDF 
 
 
1. 
Please advise what date the facial recognition system on the Police National Database (PND) 
went live. 
 
2. 
Please advise which company is supplying the hardware (if any) and software. 
 
3. 
Please provide a copy of the privacy impact assessment carried out. 
 
4. 
Please advise where the images to be facially recognised (persons requiring identification) are 
coming from.  i.e. body worn cameras, private surveillance systems, etc. 
 
5. 
Please advise where the images to be referenced against (the database of images) are coming 
from i.e. custody images, body worn cameras, private surveillance systems, etc. 
 
6. 
On average how many images per months have been uploaded? 
 
7. 
How many images have been deleted from the database? 
 
8. 
Please advise what action is being taken to address concerns voiced by the Commissioner for 
the Retention and use of Biometrics (see above report, page 104).  Concerns are: "the 
acceptability of creating what is, in effect, a searchable national database of custody 
photographs; the inclusion and processing on that database of images of individuals who have 
never been convicted of a recordable offence; the scope for searching against that database 
 
 
 
 
 
1st Floor, 10 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0NN T 020 7084 8950 F 020 7084 8951 
Registered in England and Wales as a private company limited by guarantee. 
Registered number 3344583. Registered office 10 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0NN Chief Executive: Ian Readhead 
 

other images of unconvicted individuals (including, perhaps, images derived from CCTV and/or 
‘body worn video’); and, more generally, about what would constitute appropriate arrangements 
for the governance and regulation of the relevant database and searching process.  As well as 
raising my concerns about these matters with Chief Constable Barton and with Senior Home 
Office Officials, I have raised them with the Forensic Science Regulator, with the Surveillance 
Camera Commissioner and with the information Commissioner’s Office.  It is clear from my 
discussions with them that they also have concerns about proper regulation in this area and 
that they would, like me, be happy to contribute to the development of an appropriate regulatory 
regime." 
 
9. 
Who has access to the facial recognition system?  i.e. police forces, any other organisations. 
 
10.  How many people have access to the facial recognition system? 
 
11.  How many searches have been done?  Please break down by how many individuals have been 
positively identified and searches that have not been able to positively identify an individual? 
 
12.  How many images are on the system? 
 
13.  What percentage of images held on the facial recognition database are of persons who have 
not been found guilty of crime? 
 
Further clarification received on 12/03/2015: 
 
To clarify this would be a) persons charged but not convicted of a crime and b) persons not 
charged with a crime.  Please could you answer, as detailed in question 13, which overall 
percentage and if possible breaking down the overall percentage with the percentages of these 
two categories. 
 
14.  Which other police forces are considering using or using facial recognition systems?  e.g. 
Leicestershire Police using NeoFace. 
 
15.  Please advise why no mention of the PND database of images to be used with a facial 
recognition system, that had gone ‘live’ in April 2014 according to the Biometrics 
Commissioner’s report, was not mentioned in ACPO’s submission to the House of Commons 
Select Committee ‘current and future uses of biometric technology’ submission:  
 
http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-
and-technology-committee/current-and-future-uses-of-biometric-data-and-
technologies/oral/16645.pdf 

 
 
ACPO Response: 
 
ACPO does hold information captured by parts of your request. 
 
I have made enquiries with the National Policing Portfolio for the Police National Database (PND) led by CC 
Michael Barton. 
 
The normal standard of proof to apply in determining whether a public authority does hold any requested 
information is the civil standard of the balance of probabilities. 
 
In deciding where the balance lies, the Information Commissioner considers the scope, quality, thoroughness 
and results of the searches carried out by the public authority as well as considering where appropriate, any 
other reasons offered by the public authority to explain why the information is not held. 
 
1.  PND facial search functionality went live on 28/03/2014 to enable the images held on PND to be 
searchable. 
 
2.  The hardware is supplied between CGI the PND developers and the software, COGNITEC, the facial 
search capability company. 
 
 
 
 
Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland 
 
 

3.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request.  I have consulted with colleagues who provide 
the following information outside of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  An original Private Impact 
Assessment (PIA) was conducted in 2009 by the National Police Improvements Agency (NPIA).  It was 
announced in December 2011 that the NPIA would be gradually wound down and its functions transferred 
to other organisations.  By December 2012, all operations had been transferred to the Home Office, the 
College of Policing amongst others.    However, an update was drafted in 2013, and I cannot confirm 
whether this was ever ratified.  The draft implied that further PIA work was to be completed and it is 
believed the Home Office have commissioned this work.  A consideration for you may be to make a request 
with the Home Office. 
 
4.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request.  There is no record that specifically details a 
definitive list of this information. 
 
5.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request.  There is no record that specifically details a 
definitive list of this information.   
 
6.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request.  This information may be held by the Home 
Office and a consideration may be to make a request with them. 
7.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request. 
 
8.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request.  
 
9.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request.  There is no record held that specifically details 
a definitive list of information.  However, all PND users have access to the facial recognition system. 
 
10.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request as there is no specific record held.  I can advise 
that there are 12,000 licenses available for PND use. 
 
11.  A total of 4000 facial searches were submitted between 28/03/2014 (when the functionality was released to 
users) and 17/02/2015. 
 
12.  There are 13.7 million facial images, with an undetermined number of duplicates.  It should also be stressed 
that ACPO does not know how many different people are represented by the images. 
 
13.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request.  We are not required to create information in 
order to respond to an FOI request. 
   
14.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request. 
 
15.  ACPO does not hold information captured by your request. The FOI Act is not designed to answer general 
questions.  As you will be aware, the legislation places two key obligations on an authority that is covered 
by the Act when they are considering a request for information.  These obligations are set out in section 
1(1) and stipulate that when that authority receives a valid request (which is defined elsewhere in the Act) 
that authority must confirm what information is or is not held (S1(1)(a)) and, if that information is held, it 
must be provided to the applicant unless it is considered to be exempt information (S1(1)(b)). 
 
It is therefore reasonable to assert that if we are unable to meet these obligations under S1(1) of the Act – 
i.e. in answering a question we are not able to confirm or deny what information is held by ACPO because 
none has been requested – we cannot handle that request under FOI.   
 
For your information, and wishing to provide assistance to you, it may benefit for you to understand that the 
Freedom of Information Act does not cover thoughts and/or opinion.  The Act relates to recorded information 
only. 
 
ACPO are not a police force.  ACPO leads and coordinates the direction and development of the police service 
in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 
 
National Policing work is conducted through business areas, each taking lead responsibility for a broad area of 
policing and headed by a serving Chief Officer.  The Business area leads the direction and development of 
policing in that area, working with Government and external stakeholders.  Under each business area sit 
portfolios, led by an individual officer to act as the national policing lead for a specific issues. 
 
 
 
 
Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland 
 
 

ACPO provides governance, operation coordination, funding and support as well as setting requirements and 
provides a conduit to the Chief Constables’ Council and the national business areas. 
 
Yours sincerely 
 
Sherry Traquair 
Freedom of Information Officer & Decision Maker 
 
www.acpo.police.uk 
 
 
COMPLAINT RIGHTS 
 
Internal Review 
 
If you are dissatisfied with the response you have been provided with, in compliance with the Freedom of 
Information legislation, you can lodge a complaint with ACPO to have the decision reviewed within 2 months of 
the date of this response. The handling of your request will be looked at by someone independent of the original 
decision, and a fresh response provided. 
 
It would be helpful, if requesting a review, for you to articulate in detail the reasons you are not satisfied with 
this reply. 
 
If you would like to request a review, please write or send an email to ACPO Freedom of Information, c/o PO 
Box 481, Fareham, Hampshire, PO14 9FS. 
 
If, after lodging a complaint with ACPO, you are still unhappy with the outcome, you may make an application to 
the Information Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, 
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. 
 
 
 
Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland