More than 2000 football fans wrongly picked out by facial recognition

System funded by £2 million Home Office grant experiences technical issues.

The Principality Stadium in Cardiff (@cafefootball)

Date - 10th May 2018 By - Sophie Garrod - Police Oracle


A force has defended its use of facial recognition technology after an excessive amount of football fans were erroneously flagged-up as potential troublemakers.


At the UEFA Champions League Final in Cardiff last June, 170,000 people visited the city for the Real Madrid v Juventus game where just over 70,000 had tickets for the game.

A total of 2,470 potential matches were identified but South Wales Police data this week revealed 2,297 (92 per cent) - were incorrect.


Forty-six people were also wrongly identified at an Anthony Joshua boxing match, while there were 42 false positives from a rugby match between Wales and Australia in November.


A spokesman for the force said: “No facial recognition system is 100 per cent accurate under all conditions. Technical issues are normal to all face recognition systems, which means false positives will continue to be a common problem for the foreseeable future."


The force explained in the past nine months 2,000 positive matches were made using facial recognition technology with more than 450 arrests.

Successful convictions since the rollout of the trial include six years in prison for robbery and four-and-a-half year’s imprisonment for burglary.


And in January, it managed to identify a dead body from a non-suspicious sudden death where the identity of the deceased was unknown.


Last year the Metropolitan Police Service received criticism for testing the technology at Nottinghill Carnival after it lead to a wrongful arrest and 35 false matches.

Silkie Carlo, the technology policy officer for human rights group Liberty, observed the trial and described it as a "worryingly inaccurate and painfully crude facial recognition operation.”


But former MI5 chief, Lord Evans of Weardale, who headed the security service for six years, highlighted the value of the system and argued it would be "foolish" to deny its potential benefits, including in combating terrorism by identifying "hostile reconnaissance activity."


Copyright: Police Oracle

C/o Bruton Charles, The Coach House, Greys Green Business Centre, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, RG9 4QG

Our mission is to represent, lead and serve the CCTV industry