Live Facial Recognition to be deployed at this year’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix
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Northamptonshire Police are deploying state-of-the-art technology this weekend (July 8-9) to provide an extra layer of security at the 2023 Formula 1 Aramco British Grand Prix.
With more than 450,000 people expected to descend on the south of the county for the UK’s largest sporting event, ensuring the safety of everyone visiting Silverstone is of paramount importance to the Force.
In addition to the specialist teams, including armed officers, search teams, disruption officers and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) units, Live Facial Recognition (LFR) will also be in operation at the circuit on Saturday (July 8) and Sunday (July 9).
This is the first time that LFR has been deployed outside of the South Wales and Metropolitan Police areas and will be used by the county Force for the sole purpose of fighting crime and protecting people attending the circuit’s showcase event.
The technology works by scanning faces with a camera to match biometrics against those held on a watchlist. This list is generated by the police and focuses on those who pose the greatest risk of danger to the wider public in attendance.
The watchlist includes suspects who are wanted for offences or have an outstanding warrant for an arrest issued by the courts, those who pose a risk of harm to themselves or others and vulnerable missing people.
Locations where LFR is in operation will be clearly marked by signage at the circuit, which will include a QR code to scan for anyone who would like more information about the technology and officers will also be handing out information leaflets.
Any images that trigger alerts are deleted immediately after use or within 24 hours, while the images and biometric data of people who don’t trigger an alert will automatically be deleted from the system.
Working closely with the event organisers, other emergency services and partner agencies, this year’s policing operation will be led by Event Commander for Northamptonshire Police, Detective Superintendent Richard Tompkins.
He said: “We have many years of experience leading the policing operation at the Formula 1 British Grand Prix however, with more than 450,000 expected to attend this year’s prestigious motor racing event, we simply cannot afford to become complacent.
“Each year brings its own challenges and to manage any incident, we have a robust policing plan in place which will see a large police presence in and around the circuit and wider venue as part of a multi-layered security operation, including the use of ANPR and LFR technology.
“Our priority will always be to protect the public while relentlessly pursuing those people who are determined to cause harm in our communities, and it is therefore important we embrace and use new technology to help us achieve this.
“The whole aim of using facial recognition technology is to keep the public safe and assist us in identifying serious offenders in order to protect the public from those individuals who pose significant risks.”
In addition to LFR, there will be additional police resources from uniformed officers and plain-clothed detectives patrolling the circuit, the campsites and the surrounding road network to specialist teams including armed officers, search teams, disruption officers and ANPR units.
Det Supt Tompkins added: “With more than 450,000 extra pairs of eyes at the venue over the four days, we would like help from the public to ensure that everyone attending the race event leaves the venue having had a crime-free, safe, and enjoyable experience.
“We’d ask everyone to be extra vigilant and to contact us if they see anyone or anything which looks out of place or suspicious. We would rather receive a well-meaning report that turns out to be nothing as opposed to not being told at all.”
Over the next few weeks, stay up to date on the Force’s preparations for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix by following @NorthantsPolice on Twitter or by ‘liking’ Northamptonshire Police on Facebook.