Automated Facial Recognition to Catch Out Notting Hill Carnival Hellraisers This Weekend

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

Fans of the annual stagger-through-rammed-streets-with-a-four-pack-of-Red-Stripe-and-piss-through-a-random-old-person’s-front-gate-fest that is Notting Hill Carnival might be disappointed to learn that London’s Metropolitan Police are set to use automated facial recognition (AFR) technology to sniff out rapscallions and mischief-makers over the bank holiday weekend.

The scene of much boisterous frolicking and endless selfie opportunities, Carnival also has a nasty side. Over 400 people were arrested at last year’s festival, with stabbings, bottlings and even bite attacks reported.

British police have trialled AFR technology just once before, at last year’s Download Festival. The systems used at Notting Hill this weekend will scan the faces of passers-by, and compare them with the images of naughty people they already have in a police database.

Interestingly, it sounds like the system’s slick enough to allow officers to react in real time. The Register reports that “If a match is made by the system being used at Notting Hill Carnival, however, the Met’s officers ‘will be alerted and will seek to speak with the individual to verify their identity, making an arrest if necessary.’” That could mean a lot of well-rehearsed police dance routines end up getting interrupted early.

This is despite earlier claims from the Met saying that its AFR system couldn’t be used with live footage. [Register]

Image: Mr Mission4 via Flickr