Technology plays a critical role in enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency and overall performance of police services. It enables services to adapt to evolving challenges of our community, improve operational efficiencies and better serve and protect them in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

After extensive consultations with Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, advisory committees and the public community, Peel Regional Police has implemented the usage of facial recognition technology to help automate its current manual image comparison process. This new investigative tool, acquired through a partnership with York Regional Police, will significantly increase efficiency in criminal investigations, enhance collaboration between policing services and reduce costs.

To learn more about this enhancement for our service delivery, watch our video below and review our frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is facial recognition technology? How does it work?

Facial recognition technology compares human faces from a digital image or video frame against a database of faces. This technology will be used as an investigative tool to analyze images against a combined database of crime scene images and mugshots, lawfully obtained by Peel Regional Police (PRP) and York Regional Police (YRP), in accordance with the Identification of Criminals Acts. The generated results will act as investigative leads that require additional support by other corroborative evidence to ensure accuracy. Facial recognition technology is used to aid police decision making rather than replace it.

How is facial recognition technology beneficial to police and the public?

Facial recognition technology has been used successfully in other Canadian jurisdictions to identify suspects in crimes including homicides, sexual assaults and robberies. This technology is a new investigative tool that helps improve public safety and aids police by identifying potential persons of interest and/or eliminating others from an investigation. Facial recognition technology is less susceptive to human errors and allows for expedited searches, reducing the time spent manually reviewing images. Overall, this system helps to create tangible investigative leads while increasing operational efficiencies.

Why partner with another police service for this technology?
Criminals don’t limit their activity to a single jurisdiction. A strong partnership between police services will help improve public safety, is cost effective and it enables us to collaborate more extensively. It will also increase investigative capacity by leveraging a larger image database. This technology represents a natural step forward for police investigations and will serve as another tool in our efforts to keep our collective communities safe.
Does facial recognition technology breach my privacy?
The facial recognition technology used by PRP is compliant with PRP’s legal obligations under privacy law and the governance framework for its usage was carefully drafted in line with the IPC’s Guidelines for Facial Recognition and Mugshot Databases. Police services have a legislative duty to investigate criminal activities, while safeguarding the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code. The PRP Facial Recognition program has been extensively reviewed by Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC), and feedback has been incorporated into the framework for implementation.

Additionally, all members with access to the technology have received substantial training and are guided by the policies outlined in their corporate directive: Use of the Facial Recognition System. The technology will not analyze against real-time data or images/video footage that is not stored within our database.

Privacy Impact Assessment

Who is providing this technology and what are their privacy and accuracy procedures?

The facial recognition technology is provided by IDEMIA, a leading global provider of biometric solutions. A fair and transparent procurement process was completed to ensure that the selected vendor understands the precise investigative needs of our service, while adhering to both privacy guidelines/laws and our commitment to our Human Rights Project. IDEMIA's services are used by many law enforcement agencies around the world. The product has been designed for use in law enforcement, where privacy and security are core to the product’s design.

Over the last decade, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has identified major improvements in the accuracy of facial recognition technology. IDEMIA’s product ranks first in accuracy according to tests completed by the NIST.

Were the public engaged on this initiative?
Yes. Public consultations on a Human Rights Approach to Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition were held in March and April, 2024.
Why implement this technology now?

Canadian policing is constantly adapting to an ever-changing environment. Police services must stay agile and innovative in their investigative approaches to provide service excellence. As leaders in innovation and technology, PRP, alongside YRP, remain committed to the vision of Building a Safer Community Together.

In the past five years, facial recognition technology has made tremendous progress in accuracy and demographic inclusion according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). We purposefully waited until the technology achieved this level of reliability before pursuing its implementation.

How do I request that my booking data be removed from the database?
Persons who have a criminal record may have fingerprints and photograph(s) in our system. A request for destruction of these records may be granted under certain circumstances. Please visit our website for further information.
How do I request a correction to my personal information in the database?
Under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), you can make a request to access police reports or to make a correction to a record if you believe it contains inaccurate information. For more information, please visit our website.
How do I file a complaint?
Peel Regional Police is dedicated to ensuring our citizens feel safe and secure. We are committed to working with all members of the community and we hold ourselves accountable in everything we do. All complaints filed by the public about our policies and services, or about the conduct of an officer, are taken seriously. For further information, please visit our website.

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