Home Office plots £5m project to equip police with facial-recognition software
Department issues contract notice for biometric software
After initially being deployed in the law-enforcement sector, the biometric technology may then be rolled out in other areas
The Home Office is planning to invest £5m on facial-recognition biometric software to be used by the police.
The department has issued a contract notice seeking interested suppliers for a five-year engagement to provide biometric matcher engine software (MES) that can successfully identify people via facial imagery. Such technology will, initially, be used in law enforcement. In time, the scope of the deployment may extend to other public sector organisations, the Home Office said.
Alongside the technology, the supplier or suppliers will be expected to provide a range of related services, including design, accuracy testing, systems integration, data migration, and ongoing support.
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Potential suppliers have until 25 September to express their interest, three weeks after which the department is intending to invite five firms to tender. The tendering process, which will see bidders’ technology subjected to accuracy testing, is expected to last at least seven months.
Following the initial five-year term of the contract, the Home Office will have the option to extend it for an additional two years, followed by a further one-year extension. This means the project could last a total of eight years. Its estimated value is £4.6m, plus VAT.
The deployment forms part of a wider biometrics programme being run by the Home Office. The new MES will, therefore, need to integrate with the department’s existing biometric matcher platform service, which plays host to methods and data from various agencies across law enforcement, immigration, citizenship services, and other bodies.
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Contract came with an initial seven-year potential term but will now run until 2022