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Home Office in the media

Home Office in the media: Friday 1 November

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Leading stories

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Today's leading stories include a report on the use of live facial recognition, and fire workforce statistics.

Facial recognition

The FT, Times and Telegraph report that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) urged the police to hold back its use of live facial recognition in public places, until the Government provides new legal guidance for the technology.

According to the articles, Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says her opinion differs to the High Court ruling which found sufficient legal framework for the use of live facial recognition. She said that the ICO hopes to work with the Home Office and other agencies to create a statutory code that ensures the technology's use by law enforcement is legal.

Coverage also notes that the Commissioner demanded the images of up to 21 million people who were arrested but never charged should be deleted from police databases and not used for watchlists of suspects.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

The Government supports the police as they trial new technologies to protect the public, including facial recognition, which has helped them identify, locate and arrest suspects that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible.

The High Court recently found there is a clear and sufficient legal framework for the use of live facial recognition technology.

We are always willing to consider proposals to improve the legal framework and promote public safety and confidence in the police.

Fire workforce statistics

The Sun and Star report that the number of full-time firefighters has fallen by 23 percent in a decade following figures released yesterday by the Home Office.

The articles note that fire brigades had 32,233 at the end of March, compared with 41,853 in 2009.

Coverage also reports that just over six per cent are women and four per cent are from an ethnic minority.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

Firefighters work every day to protect our communities and we are proud of the work they do.

We are continuing to see a rise in new firefighters joining fire and rescue services, with recruitment increasing across the country.

Fire and Rescue Services have the resources they need to do their important work and will receive around £2.3 billion in 2019-20.


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