James Constable

Senior Associate Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 15 Feb 2024 LAST UPDATED: 15 Feb 2024

How is AI Changing Law Enforcement?

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more advanced and increasingly popular, many of us question how AI will affect our day-to-day lives.

From a crime and regulatory standpoint, the use of AI technologies is paving a new way for law enforcement agencies, such as the police, to prosecute, locate and gather evidence against alleged and proven offenders.

The roll out of police vans using AI technologies to detect drivers using their mobile phones, and live facial recognition systems to identify wanted offenders are two of the most prominent AI technologies currently being used.

What is AI live facial recognition?

AI facial recognition is becoming particularly popular in fields such as entertainment and social media, for example Apple’s Face ID and Apple Pay, but this trend is also emerging in security and law enforcement too.

AI live facial recognition systems are designed to identify a person in real time with digitally stored images and videos by using AI algorithms and facial mapping.

There are currently only two law enforcements that have been deploying live facial recognition cameras to identify wanted offenders; the Metropolitan Police and South Wales police. The policing minister has urged other “police forces to adopt the technology” which can

“catch criminals in just a fraction of the time it would otherwise take”

The Met’s most recent deployment of two vans in Croydon on Friday 9th February 2024 resulted in “four or five” arrests, with a total of 45 arrests across 8 deployments in the borough.

What is the Acusensus system?

As of 25th March 2022, changes to the highway code introduced further restrictions on the use of mobile phones whilst driving. The Acusensus system was introduced so that law enforcement bodies could detect drivers using their mobile phones, as well as drivers and passengers travelling without a seatbelt. The system equips vans with multiple cameras which can detect both, drivers holding a phone up to their ear, or in their hand for texting.

The system was used in an investigation carried out by the police on two A roads last July and “identified 86 drivers suspected of using a phone, 273 drivers or passengers suspected of not wearing a seat belt, and […] there were a further five arrests for drug-driving and disqualified driving” offences in the 5 day long investigation.

What are your rights?

As the use of AI technologies in law enforcement is increasing, many of us are questioning our rights on the general public being monitored in this way. However, the use of these AI systems is regulated and enforcement agencies such as the police are required to uphold a duty of care towards the public. For example, any location being monitored by live facial recognition must be clearly marked with signage so that the public are aware, and any images that do not flag an alert are automatically deleted.

In November of last year, the Prime Minister hosted a global AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park to discuss the risks associated with AI. As a result, twenty-eight nations including the UK signed the Bletchley Declaration. The agenda includes working “together in an inclusive manner to ensure human-centric, trustworthy and responsible AI that is safe”.

How can Ellis Jones help you?

With an excess of 60 years’ experience, our Crime and Regulatory team can act quickly and offer a reliable service to those with alleged or proven offences.

If you feel as though you could benefit from seeking advice in relation to an offence, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our experts by emailing james.constable@ellisjones.co.uk or via our Make an Enquiry form.

About the authors

James Constable

James is a Senior Associate Solicitor based in our London office. James specialises in Crime and Regulatory work, his expertise also crosses over into various other departments such as Family, Property Litigation, Contentious Trusts & Probate, Employment and Sports Law in relation to Criminal matters.

Lovetta Pring

Lovetta is a Secretary based in our London office and works to support our London team across a variety of matters and service areas including Banking & Finance Litigation and Crime.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

Make an enquiry

Related news

4 minute read

What are the Consequences of Speeding?

Read more
3 minute read

Fare Evasion: Can you avoid a criminal conviction?

Read more
3 minute read

The Ban on XL Bully Dogs in England and Wales

Read more
2 minute read

Updates to sentencing of serious motoring offences

Read more