Police are to use controversial facial recognition software to scan crowds attending the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph, the Observer can reveal.
The Metropolitan Police will deploy real-time biometric tracking at the event, which will be attended by about 10,000 former and current service personnel as well as dignitaries and members of the public. Prince Charles will lay the head of state’s wreath at the commemoration, which marks the 99th anniversary of the end of the first world war. Met sources said the use of the technology at the showpiece central London event is a trial, and not related to terrorism or serious crime.
Officers have compiled a dataset of about 50 individuals known for obsessive behaviour towards particular public figures. Automated facial recognition cameras will be used to identify any individual on the list who attends the Whitehall event. None of those on the list is believed to be wanted for arrest, and this has prompted civil liberties group Liberty to denounce the use of the technology as discriminatory.