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Facial recognition CCTV option to keep Kingston safe
Facial recognition CCTV is being looked at in a bid to keep Kingston town centre safe.
The plans, which are in the very early stages, were discussed at a recent meeting with Pubwatch, police, the council and Kingston First.
ID scanners and thumb printing equipment that would record drinkers' details on their first visit were also discussed.
Mark Byford, manager of McClusky's and chairman of Kingston Pubwatch, said the CCTV would not just monitor clubbers, but the town centre as a whole, to prevent crimes such as terrorism.
However, civil liberties group Big Brother Watch voiced concern about the use of extra CCTV.
A spokesman said: "This proposal goes way too far.
"People should be able to go out for an evening without being expected to hand over sensitive personal information to bouncers.
"Facial recognition software and fingerprint scanners should only be used by trained and accountable security professionals, not publicans."
However, Mr Byford said: "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about.
"It won't solve every problem there is, but it's another tool in our box to keep trouble-makers out of the town. I think the benefits outweigh the negatives.
"The ID scanners will mean we know who is in the premises, and police will have a record of who is in there so we can release their information if something happens or they do something naughty.
"At the moment, it is early stages. We've had one meeting and it's looking at the long-term, so I'm not sure how it will all work."
Kingston First's business crime reduction manager Paul Riordan checked out the thumb print technology with Inspector Gary Taylor at Scannet's headquarters in Canary Wharf.
He said there were many questions to answer, such as whether it would work with big clubs and if there were good working examples, before they could go ahead.
Initiatives already in use are drug swabbing, the Behave or be Banned scheme, free bag drops for girls' handbags and the town link radio.
Officers and sniffer dogs helped arrest three people for possession of class A drugs in Kingston town centre on February 11 as part of Pubwatch.
One person was also arrested for class B possession and four cannabis warnings were issued.
What do you think of the proposals? Is the scheme a step too far, or should we welcome any moves to help keep us safe? Use the form below to let us know...
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