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Sweden Plans to Deploy Facial Recognition Technology for Law Enforcement to Identify Criminals

Sweden Plans to Deploy Facial Recognition Technology for Law Enforcement to Identify Criminals

Author: teresa_myers | 05 Jun 2024

On 03 June, the Swedish government announced plans to let police deploy real-time facial recognition technology accessing public surveillance cameras to identify suspected individuals involved in potential criminal offenses. This decision aims to strengthen crime investigation allowing advanced technology to locate potential criminals or search for missing persons. 

Considerably, this decision comes after the Adoption of AI regulations by the European Union in March, limiting the use of facial recognition in public spaces to impede mass surveillance and crowd management. However, the EU makes some exceptions for employing facial technology in public areas. EU suggests the use of technology for potentially locating missing persons and victims of human trafficking and preventing terrorist attacks or criminal activities. 

Catalysts Behind the Decision 

In recent years, Sweden has increasingly been subjected to criminal violence including bombings, shootings, and gang violence. The distressing surge in criminal activities is largely attributed to organized crime networks persuading young people to facilitate them in executing illicit activities. 

In December 2023, the Swedish government directed an inquiry to evaluate how the use of public cameras could facilitate police, particularly the deployment of face recognition technology in identifying potential suspects and counteract terrorist activities in public areas. 

Talking about the instrumental role of the inquiry, Gunnar Strommer, Minister for Justice, revealed that the findings of the inquiry were presented to the government on 03 June, providing insights into utilizing public cameras for mitigating crime effectively. 

Employing public cameras particularly face recognition technology must comply with EU guidelines governing the careful implementation of AI to deliver intended purposes including the identification of criminals and public safety. 

Kazimir Aberg, a Swedish Jurist who headed the inquiry, reportedly emphasized: “Facial recognition in real-time in public places should be allowed for crime-fighting purposes to the extent that the EU’s AI regulation allows.”

Read More: Deepfake Porn Deemed as a Crime New Law Passes in UK

UK to Spend £55.5M in Facial Recognition to Address Retail Crime 

Many jurisdictions globally are making efforts to allow police to use facial recognition technology for the speedy identification of criminals and addressing criminal activities to enhance the integrity of public safety. 

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in April 2024, reportedly made a public announcement to spend £55.5 million in face recognition technology over the upcoming four years. This investment is declared to mitigate retail crime, especially shoplifting. Approximately £4 million of this investment is reserved for bespoke mobile units employed across public places or streets with live facial recognition. These units will considerably cross-match real-time footage with the police databases to recognize suspected criminals, particularly shoplifters. For any potential matching in the shopping areas, alerts will be sent to the police to apprehend shoplifters. 

Read More: How Facial Recognition in Retail Improves Customer Experience

How has Facial Recognition Technology Impacted Law Enforcement? 

Facial recognition technology has garnered great attention in law enforcement in recent years, with the integration of artificial intelligence, offering enhanced accuracy and efficiency. Advanced facial recognition integrated with AI algorithms and sophisticated deep learning models trained on massive datasets offers remarkable efficiency and has transformed the law enforcement industry, holding promising crime-fighting prospects. 

The technology can swiftly scan faces in real-time, and the faces are matched against the available databases, accelerating the identification process and helping police officers apprehend suspect individuals in criminal offenses. Furthermore, facial recognition scans crowds by monitoring public surveillance footage, enhancing public security and elevating the efficiency of crime investigation procedures. Above all, by evaluating trends & patterns, officers can allocate resources to dangerous zones based on surveillance, actively counteracting the looming threats of criminal activities.