An article on Slate.com said that police in South Wales have been the first in the UK to use automatic facial recognition (AFR) technology to identify and arrest a suspect on May 31.
Police inside a surveillance van near the Cardiff central train station and the Millennium Stadium employed the technology, which connects to a database of 500,000 mugshots. After the technology identified the suspect’s mugshot, police arrested him.
The article said police were surveilling the area as part of a security plan ahead of a June 3 soccer match, but also said the suspect was not connected with the match.
The technology is still in the very beginning stages, but besides the ability to identify wanted felons in a crowd, the technology has potential to alert businesses when people enter who have previously been involved in incidents such as shoplifting.
In fact, an article on Ozy.com reported that a number of U.S. retailers will be displaying signs alerting customers they will be employing facial recognition software in an effort to curb shoplifting.
The article describes plug-and-play cameras using a facial recognition system by FaceFirst that can populate the cameras with the biometrics of known shoplifters from their database and police logs. The company said they have reduced shoplifting by 20 to 30 percent in stores employing their technology.