Live facial recognition technology could be introduced on a more permanent basis as Essex Police look to secure their own equipment after a successful trial.

Back in October 2023, Live Facial Recognition (LFR) was utilised for the first time in Essex in Southend High Street and in Chelmsford High Street.

This was with the support of South Wales Police who own the special equipment.

Trial - The technology was deployed on Southend High StreetTrial - The technology was deployed on Southend High Street (Image: Essex Police)

The deployment is targeted to focus on a specific list of people wanted in connection with high-harm offences, such as violent or sexual offences.

In total, there were five positive alerts, with arrests made in connection with rape and robbery investigations, and an outstanding warrant.

Following its success, Essex Police has since confirmed it is in the process of securing their own technology.

Det Supt Stephen Jennings said: "We are an innovative, forward-thinking force and utilise new technology to keep people safe and deter crime.

Technology - Facial recognitionTechnology - Facial recognition (Image: Canva)

"Cutting edge technology is playing an important role in protecting the public, responding to and investigating crimes, and getting justice for victims.

"We trialled Live Facial Recognition technology we had loaned from South Wales Police in October last year.

"Not only was it a great operational success with five positive alerts over two days and three arrests, including for robbery and rape, but we had great response from the public about its use.

"Since that positive trial, we have been investigating procuring our own technology and that process is ongoing."

The technology compares live camera feeds of faces against a pre-determined database or ‘watch list’ of people of interest.

Only images of specific people wanted in connection with high harm and/or violent crimes appear on that database.

Martin Richardson, the owner of Happidrome Arcade, welcomed the technology.

Safety - Happidrome owner Martin Richardson welcomes the technologySafety - Happidrome owner Martin Richardson welcomes the technology (Image: Newsquest)

He said: "Anything that makes the area safer is good.

"If people have nothing to hide or worry about, then there shouldn't be a problem.

"Only people who have something to hide, will be worried about it. I welcome anything to make the city safer, the county safer, and the country safer."

At the time of the trial, some concerns were raised on social media over privacy, but Essex Police addressed those worries.

Daniel Cowan, leader of Southend Council, added: "The trial has proven successful and has picked up people in connection with serious crimes.

"Having our own technology on a more permanent basis is a positive step in keeping us all safe.

"We do have to be mindful of the over use of facial recognition software as well, but as long as it is used in measured manner then I am sure the public would welcome it."