By Sebastian Murphy-bates For Mailonline
Published: 23:08 GMT, 11 February 2020 | Updated: 11:02 GMT, 12 February 2020
Police have begun using facial recognition cameras near one of London's Westfield shopping malls to scan for wanted people, despite fears about increased surveillance.
Surveillance cameras mounted on a blue police van monitored people coming out of a shopping centre in Stratford, in east London.
Signs warned that police were using the technology to find people 'wanted for serious crimes.' Officers stood nearby, explaining to passers-by how the system works.
Police are pictured in Stratford, East London, using facial recognition cameras for the first time
It's the first time London's Metropolitan Police Service has used live facial recognition cameras in an operational deployment since carrying out a series of trials that ended last year.
London police are using the technology despite warnings from rights groups, lawmakers and independent experts about a lack of accuracy and bias in the system and the erosion of privacy. Activists fear it's just the start of expanded surveillance.
'We don't accept this. This isn't what you do in a democracy. You don't scan people's faces with cameras. This is something you do in China, not in the U.K.,' said Silkie Carlo, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch.
'Britain has a strong tradition of upholding civil liberties and of not allowing police to arbitrarily stop and identify people,' she said. 'This technology just sweeps all of that away.'