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The Future of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) in Law Enforcement

  • August 2015
  • 15 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 3290916


Table of Contents

Security vs. Privacy

The growing digitisation of police forces around the world has resulted in an increased use of new technologies. The deployment of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) in police forces all over the globe is in its very early stages as there are several technological, social, and legislative issues to contend with. This article takes a look at facial recognition technology in the United Kingdom’s security sector before commenting on the wider global implications.

Together with society in general, the security industry is also becoming increasingly digitised. The law enforcement segment continues to evolve as Big Data innovations offer potential step-change benefits to the way security agencies and police forces operate. Urbanisation and the concept of Safe Cities, the increasing use of smart devices, demand for more mobility, need for collaboration, and the ability to “do more with less” are all key factors driving the adoption of new technologies in this segment. Wearable security devices such as body-worn cameras are starting to gain traction in the law enforcement segment, while new analytical software is helping law enforcement agencies gain a better understanding of their operating environment. One key piece of this growing drive for improved situational awareness is the use of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT). As part of a significant security research programme, Frost & Sullivan has engaged with end users in the security industry and police forces in the United Kingdom to assess the market penetration and enduser adoption of FRT.

The adoption of FRT by police forces in the United Kingdom is driven by various end-user perception factors linked to cost benefits and influenced by budget availability and political intentions. However, FRT adoption is also deeply affected by external socio-political pressures—principally those concerning legal constraints and privacy issues. It is important to contextualise technology adoption within the macro-environment, especially in terms of socio-political perception and legality in the case of FRT adoption in the law enforcement sector, as these socio-political forces will continue to shape the future agenda for FRT development. It is also essential to assess the current state of FRT adoption and the reality of the outcomes that FRT delivers to end users. This will help increase the understanding of what developments are needed in the next
few years to help police forces overcome the challenges associated with adopting FRT technology. Finally, it is imperative to look at possible future developments, which will provide an indication of where the FRT market is headed.

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