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Facial Recognition (1146A/22)


I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request the following information from West Midlands Police. For the purposes of clarity, please take ‘facial recognition’ to mean any automated means of comparing a live or retrospective image against a database to discern potential identity, and ‘trial’ to mean any use on the public or internally for testing purposes. Please may you provide me with:

  1. Deployment information relating to ongoing or planned trials of live or retrospective facial recognition technology within your force area (such as number of trials, brief overview of such trials, scope and cost) during the period of 01/01/2020 to present day.
  2. Any information relating to ongoing or planned trials of similar technology which uses automated computer vision to analyse images for biometric identification purposes (such as ear recognition, vein recognition, or gait recognition)
  3. If any trials of either 1 or 2 have been carried out, please confirm number of arrests made, number of stop and searches made, number of stop and accounts made, or number of fines/other enforcement resulting from these trials.
  4. A copy of any internal policy documents or internal guidance for the development, use, or deployment of these technologies

Please provide the information in whatever format makes most sense given the data types.


Please find attached our response.

In addition, the force can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information in relation to covert usage or trials as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply by virtue of the following exemptions:

Section 23(5) Information supplied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies

Section 24(2) – National security

Section 31(3) – Law enforcement

Section 23 is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest in this case.

Confirming or denying the existence of whether any other information is held would contravene the constrictions laid out within Section 23 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in that this stipulates a generic bar on disclosure of any information applied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies.

In respect of Section 24(2) and Section 31(3), I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT attached (1146A_PIT).

These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:

No inference can be taken from this refusal that any further information relevant to your request does or does not exist.