Webinar: Biometric data and the law

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UK retailers are continuing to see a strong rise in theft and a disturbing trend in abuse and assault of their staff. Traditional crime prevention methods have often tried and failed to prevent such crime and retailers are increasingly turning to facial recognition to alert them of the presence of offenders in their premises before they commit crime.

Our Facewatch Data Protection Officer Dave Sumner, in collaboration with Dean Armstrong QC, will be hosting an invitation-only live webinar for retail lawyers and data protection officers to discuss all things UKGDPR and data protection law specific to deploying facial recognition for crime prevention purposes in retail environments.

Dave is a former senior police officer and NATO advisor who also served as Head of Criminal Justice and Director of Intelligence in the UK. Dean is Head of Chambers at 36 Group and considered to be one of the UK’s leading authorities in data and cyber law.

Dave and Dean will share insight into all aspects of UKGDPR and data protection law relating facial recognition and biometric data in retail crime prevention. The session will cover topics including:

  • The lawfulness of using facial recognition
  • The legal rationale for creating a watchlist
  • How data is acquired, stored and shared
  • Necessity, proportionality and transparency
  • Satisfying the substantial public interest test
  • Data sharing between data controllers

They will share and comment on a recent example of case law – Bridges v South Wales Police, in addition to clarifying the narrative propagated by civil liberty organisations that appears in the UK press.

Attendees will be invited to submit questions before the webinar and we will end the session with an open Q&A (time permitting) attended by a retailer already using Facewatch in their estate.

This promises to be a unique and highly informative event and participants can expect to leave with a greater level of confidence and understanding in how facial recognition can be lawfully deployed in a retail estate, to deter crime and protect employees and customers.

Nick Fisher
Facewatch CEO

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Fraser explains how to access the code and suggests that a principles based approach along with greater levels of adoption to it, could help avoid some of the alarmist and irresponsible reporting that has undermined the very good and increasingly invaluable contribution facial recognition (tech) is making.

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Adoption of the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice is a good place to start with regards to Operating Responsibly as Fraser explains in more detail. Facewatch endorses this and is recognised for operating above and beyond the requirements of UKGDPR but Nick wants to take this even further.

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Fraser explains that establishing clearly defined standards of ethical behaviour would enable businesses to either compete or be a barrier to entry for those that choose not to be ethical. Nick suggests in future it should be the operators of the technology that are accredited, more so than the technology itself.

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Fraser and Nick agree that businesses bringing facial recognition to market need to demonstrate that they take peoples concerns very seriously regarding how their data might be used. Behaving responsibly, transparently and through inviting questions is an imperative if such concerns are to be assuaged and trust established.

John Perkins, Store Manager of Budgens Buckingham Park would absolutely recommend Facewatch.

In a video testimonial, John describes how quickly an impact was seen and how the efficacy of the Facewatch system improves further when more retailers are using it.

John speaks about how Facewatch has changed the way that store staff deal with incidents in their shop – rather than having to be reactive, Facewatch allows John and his team to be proactive and prevent crime before it even takes place.

“It’s better to stop someone picking up the stock than it is to try and retrieve it off them.”

Facewatch was installed at Budgens Buckingham Park 2 years ago and John has noticed a real reduction in crime.

“I would say that the overall level of theft and disruption in the store has decreased significantly”.

Once an offender is uploaded to the system, the unique Facewatch software recognises any returning offender and instantly sends an alert to the store via the Facewatch mobile app. Store staff are then able to deal with the situation and prevent any further incidents. The offender’s profile is also securely shared with other Facewatch users in the same vicinity, ensuring that other local retailers are equipped with the information required to prevent a crime from happening.

In addition to a decrease in crime within his shop and how incredibly easy it is for his employers to use Facewatch, John added that it doesn’t take long to see a return on investment.

John went even further in his praise for the system, by adding “I don’t see why people wouldn’t want it.”

Facewatch is currently installing systems daily across the UK and stores interested in the system should contact our team immediately to secure their installation date.

Contact us now to find out more and book your FREE demo

0207 930 3225


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Nick & Fraser discuss the requirements and benefits of aggregating data from multiple sources to solve more crime and the challenges of establishing public trust.

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In the first of seven interviews with Fraser Sampson the UK’s Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner hosted by Nick Fisher CEO of Facewatch, Fraser explains his statutory roles as Commissioner and suggests holding users accountable for deciding when to use facial recognition and new technology as opposed to demonising or banning it, is the way forward.

We recently met with Nisa Local Bow Road to gather some feedback on how Facewatch has affected their business. Facewatch was installed to the store in March 2021 to help the store staff fight crime.

We spoke with Chirag Patel, the store manager, who reported that Facewatch has had a really positive impact on the business.

In a video testimonial Chirag says that, ‘It has made a massive improvement… Our crime levels have dropped drastically’

Chirag explains that before installing Facewatch, they were struggling to manage crime. Their CCTV system was not enough to deter the crime and they were looking to use a more proactive tool.

Facewatch uses revolutionary Facial Recognition technology to watch out for shoplifters and other local offenders. When an offender enters the premises, their face is instantly recognised and an alert is generated.

This means that store staff can prioritise more important operational tasks like serving customers or stocking shelves safe with the knowledge that Facewatch is protecting the store.

Since using the system, Chirag and his staff have been able to keep on top of the store crime and drastically reduce the levels of crime in store.

‘The customers love that we have it, because it make them feel safe when in our premises’

In addition to the store staff loving the system, the reception with customers has also been great.

Having an effective solution to deter crime helps to create a safer working environment.

Facewatch is currently installing systems daily across the UK and stores interested in the system should contact our team immediately to secure their installation date.

0207 930 3225


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Eat 17’s family run SPAR in Hackney has become a strong advocate of Facewatch.

Following a successful trial at their Walthamstow store last year, the system was installed at the Hackney store 5 months ago to combat store crime. It immediately made an impact.

Once the repeat offenders are uploaded to the system, Facewatch’s unique software is able to recognize the returning offenders and instantly warn the store staff by sending an alert via the Facewatch mobile app.

By receiving the alert, store staff then have the information required to safely deal with the situation and prevent any further incidents.

In a video testimonial Emmanuelle Jardin, The Store Manager, says that, ‘Since installing Facewatch in our store, we saved I reckon, a few thousand pounds a week.’

As well as reducing the stock loss and saving money, the system also has a positive impact by creating a safer working environment for the colleagues in the store. Knowing that the system is watching out for offenders, it gives them peace of mind to go about their jobs without being worried for their safety.

‘Having the backup of the system, does make us feel more confident and safer.’

Emmanuelle also goes on to explain how the system automatically shares data with the local community, allowing local businesses to work together to combat crime.

Facewatch is currently installing systems daily across the UK and stores interested in the system should contact our team immediately to secure their installation date.

0207 930 3225


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