Demonstration of facial recognition technology

Pippa King made this Freedom of Information request to Essex Police

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Essex Police,

"Viewed innovative facial recognition cctv system in London today. #Southend BID & Council also attended and we will now exploring options to be 1st area to trial in UK. Smart new technology designed to prevent/reduce crime & make best use of our resources."
https://twitter.com/DCINeilPudney/status...

With regards to the above tweet under the Freedom of Information Act please provide the following information.

a) Which police force demonstrated the facial recognition.
b) Please advise whether the cameras in the demonstration were static or mobile, i.e. bodyworn, fixed CCTV, mobile car/van/handheld etc.
c) Please advise who the facial recognition was demonstrated (members of the public/police, etc) and where it was demonstrated.
d) Please advise the dates when discussions started on facial recognition. Please list dates of discussions started with BID, Southend on Sea Council and the force demonstrating the facial recognition.
e) What further action will be taken on the possible use of facial recognition.

Some parts of this request may be easier to answer than others and in such case please could you release available data as soon as possible rather than delay the entire request.
If you are not fully certain of what it is I am asking then I look forward to contact from you as soon as possible to clarify what it is I am requesting in order to meet your obligations under the law.
If the costs of processing this request exceed the limit in the Act, please advise on what information you are able to supply within the cost limit.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Data FOI Essex,

1 Attachment

Thank you for your enquiry which has been logged under the above
reference.

 

Under the Freedom of Information Act we are required to reply within 20
working days.  The Act does not specify a limit to the number of
information requests a public authority may receive or the number of
requests or questions an applicant may submit.  However, there are
exemptions in the Act that can apply and these include where the cost of
complying with the request would extend beyond the reasonable cost limit,
(currently 18 hours or £450), or if the request is otherwise manifestly
unreasonable in its scope or nature. 

 

Requests that ask a great many questions, or a number of detailed requests
submitted at the same time, may make it necessary for Essex Police to
refuse the requests wholly or in part. The exemption at s14 may be engaged
if the burden on the authority is increased through multiple requests on
differing subjects

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responsibility for
providing oversight and guidance for the legislation and they have
produced advice for applicants on submitting effective requests.  Further
information can be found on the Commissioner’s website at www.ico.gov.uk
specific information relating to submitting a request can be found at:
https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

                                                      

While we process your request, please take the time to consider the ICO’s
advice and whether you feel it may be beneficial to amend or refine your
request. Our team is happy to discuss your request with you and will be
able to provide advice as to what kind of information will be available
from Essex Police.

 

Kind regards

Information Rights Team

Information Management Department

Strategic Change Directorate – Essex Police HQ

Direct Dial 01245 452647 – ext 150030

 

 

 

 

Please note, if you require further information or wish to resubmit a
request please refer to the information found on the Commissioner’s
website regarding submission of effective requests
[1]https://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/of...

 

Your right to complain

 

If you feel your request has not been properly handled, or you are
otherwise dissatisfied with the outcome of your request you have the right
to complain.

 

Complaints should be submitted within 20 working days from the date of
this response and should be addressed to the Senior Information Officer at
the above address or by email to:  [2][Essex Police request email]

 

We will conduct a review to investigate your complaint and endeavour to
reply within 20 working days.

 

Please explain which aspect of the reply you are not satisfied with, and
if your complaint concerns the decision to apply an exemption it would
assist the review if you would outline why you believe the exemption does
not apply.

           

If you are still dissatisfied following our review, you have the right
under section 50 of the Act to complain directly to the Information
Commissioner. Before considering your complaint, the Information
Commissioner would normally expect you to have exhausted the complaints
procedures provided by Essex Police

 

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or via [3]https://ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Essex Police,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Essex Police's handling of my FOI request 'Demonstration of facial recognition technology' as it was due back on the 10th August 2018 and is now overdue.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Pippa King left an annotation ()

Internal Review due back by 13th September 2018.

Data FOI Essex,

1 Attachment

Thank you for your patience in regard to your initial request and
complaint regarding our lack of response. We must firstly apologise for
the lack of updates from this department. The department has struggled
with resourcing and workload, therefore the level of service provided has
been below what is expected. Since August 2018, plans have been put into
place,  and now with significant resources dedicated to the department any
outstanding FOI request are now being reviewed and responded. Please rest
assured that the level of service from this department will improve.   

 

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 Section 17 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

In respect of your enquiry:

"Viewed innovative facial recognition cctv system in London today.
#Southend BID & Council also attended and we will now exploring options to
be 1st area to trial in UK. Smart new technology designed to
prevent/reduce crime & make best use of our resources."

[1]https://twitter.com/DCINeilPudney/status...

 

With regards to the above tweet under the Freedom of Information Act
please provide the following information.

 

a)         Which police force demonstrated the facial recognition.

b)         Please advise whether the cameras in the demonstration were
static or mobile, i.e. bodyworn, fixed CCTV, mobile car/van/handheld etc.

c)         Please advise who the facial recognition was demonstrated
(members of the public/police, etc) and where it was demonstrated.

d)         Please advise the dates when discussions started on facial
recognition. Please list dates of discussions started with BID, Southend
on Sea Council and the force demonstrating the facial recognition.

e)         What further action will be taken on the possible use of facial
recognition.

 

Having completed enquiries within Essex Police and in respect of Section
1(1)(a), Essex Police does hold information relating to your request,
Essex Police can confirm in respect of Section 1(1)(b) the following data
and comments in relation to your request.

 

a)           Which police force demonstrated the facial recognition.

No Police Force demonstrated this system. It was from a private company

 

b)           Please advise whether the cameras in the demonstration were
static or mobile, i.e. bodyworn, fixed CCTV, mobile car/van/handheld etc.

Camera was static – in essence fixed CCTV

 

c)           Please advise who the facial recognition was demonstrated
(members of the public/police, etc) and where it was demonstrated.

Chief Insp Neil Pudney’s photographic image was subject to the facial
recognition demonstration. It was demonstrated at the private companies
offices

 

d)           Please advise the dates when discussions started on facial
recognition. Please list dates of discussions started with BID, Southend
on Sea Council and the force demonstrating the facial recognition.

Essex Police is exploring facial recognition. The BID and Council have
been briefed on the concept and a presentation took place for key partners
in Southend in October so they had an opportunity to view the system and
consider viability of such a system in Southend

 

e)           What further action will be taken on the possible use of
facial recognition.

No system exists in Southend at present. We are merely in the explorative
phase so the system may or may not be adopted.

 

In additional to the above,  Essex Police can neither confirm or deny any
further information in regard to the covert use of facial recognition
technology.

 

Evidence of Harm:

‘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 practise of facial recognition
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 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 investigations 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 has remained at the
second highest level ‘severe’, except for two short periods during August
2006, June and July 2007, and more recently in May and June this year
following the Manchester and London terrorist attacks, when it was raised
to the highest threat, ‘critical’. The UK continues to face a sustained
threat from violent extremists and terrorists and the current threat level
is set at ‘severe’.

 

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.

 

Factors favouring confirmation or denial

 

Confirming or denying whether any information is or isn’t held relating to
the covert use of facial recognition technology would limit operational
capabilities as criminals/terrorist 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 use
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.

 

Balancing Test

 

Whilst there is a public interest in appropriately and effectively
engaging with the threat from criminals. 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.’

 

The public entrust the Police Service to make appropriate decisions with
regard to their safety and protection and the only way of reducing risk is
to be cautious with any information that is released. Confirming or
denying whether any further information is or is not held in relation to
police activity and would assist those intent on causing harm. Any
incident that results from confirmation or denial would, by default,
affect National Security and Law Enforcement. The balance test therefore
lies in neither confirming nor denying that any additional information is
held.

 

Essex Police trusts this information is of interest.

 

Kind Regards

Information Rights Team

Information Management Department

Strategic Change Directorate

E-Mail:[email address]

[2]cid:image001.png@01D3E908.EC4D1080

 

Please note, if you require further information or wish to resubmit a
request please refer to the information found on the Commissioner’s
website regarding submission of effective requests
[3]https://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/of...

 

Your right to complain

 

If you feel your request has not been properly handled, or you are
otherwise dissatisfied with the outcome of your request you have the right
to complain.

 

Complaints should be submitted within 20 working days from the date of
this response and should be addressed to the Senior Information Officer at
the above address or by email to:  [4][Essex Police request email]

 

We will conduct a review to investigate your complaint and endeavour to
reply within 20 working days.

 

Please explain which aspect of the reply you are not satisfied with, and
if your complaint concerns the decision to apply an exemption it would
assist the review if you would outline why you believe the exemption does
not apply.

           

If you are still dissatisfied following our review, you have the right
under Section 50 of the Act to complain directly to the Information
Commissioner. Before considering your complaint, the Information
Commissioner would normally expect you to have exhausted the complaints
procedures provided by Essex Police

 

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or via [5]https://ico.org.uk/

 

 

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information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual(s)
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For further information regarding Kent Police’s or Essex Police’s use of
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References

Visible links
1. https://twitter.com/DCINeilPudney/status...
3. https://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/of...
4. https://mail.internal.essex.police.cjx.g... address]/redir.aspx?C=8gENag1_zE-ijtqEIGBzfstmvBaehtIIbneVEImq8T0MaXeeygeoVWnfQQapCpSqvjIkKjdN7YM.&URL=mailto%3adatafoi%40essex.pnn.police.uk
5. https://ico.org.uk/

Dear Data FOI Essex,

Thank you very much for your response to my Freedom of Information request. I do appreciate your response and understand that your FOI team are busy, I am grateful for your time on this.

Yours sincerely,

Pippa King

Mail Delivery System,

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