Saturday, August 06, 2005


We're not sure quite why the Staffordshire Police are planning to take their facial recognition software to this year's V Festival:

Police at the festival in Weston Park, Staffordshire, will use an intelligence database linked to CCTV cameras to scan the site and return facial matches.

"The safety of V Festival fans is of utmost importance to us," said V Festival organiser Andy Redhead.

Now, we could understand - just about - if they were doing this at an event which has a record of trouble (Leeds Festival style, perhaps), or if there was a real and credible threat of disruption by an organisation whose members were known to the police. But it doesn't seem to be the case here:

"This year's Staffordshire V Festival will be the biggest yet, with over 70,000 people set to attend," said Chief Inspector Jon Drake, from Staffordshire Police. "Violence of any kind will not be tolerated. A small minority of offenders will not be allowed to spoil the weekend for the tens of thousands of law-abiding music fans."

What they're not saying in the reports is who, exactly, they're going to be looking out for. If there is a serious threat, shouldn't we be told? And if there isn't, should there be this trawling?


Anonymous said...

i think the point may possibly be for hunting terrorists, a festival seems an all too easy target for those who wish to cause maximum devestation to our way of life, the police havent got a clue where the threats are so they cant warn us specifically, but everyone (including the police) just has to be more vigilant. steer clear of tanned 'campers' going around with backpacks.

simon h b said...

If it was in order to hunt terrorists, why would the police feel the Staffordshire V festival to be more at threat than the Chelmsford one the same weekend? And since we're told none of the alleged bombers in London in July were known to police, how would facial recognition software have helped in that case, and why would it help now?

If, of course, the police do have good reason for believing that the Staffordshire V festival is likely to be a target for a militant attack, then shouldn't they actually share that information with the people planning to go there, to allow them to make an informed choice about their attendance?

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