To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the (a) reliability and (b) effectiveness of automatic gait recognition technology in tackling crime; if he will make resources available to make this technology more widely available to the police; and if he will make a statement.
The Home Office continues to explore the application of new authentication and identification technologies through the Biometric Centre of Expertise at the Home Office Scientific Development Branch. The Centre has tracked research in this field and has been in discussion with the National Offender Management Service on potential applications for gait recognition.
Gait recognition is one of a group of biometric technologies which are predominantly behavioural in character, in contrast with the mainly physiologically determined technologies such as facial recognition, fingerprint identification and iris biometrics, where there is more performance data and a longer history of research, development and deployment. Work on development of robust solutions using gait recognition is relatively recent and the Home Office is aware that one of the premier centres of research in the field is in the UK at Southampton University. It is recognised that automatic gait recognition has potential to support systems that protect the public, but this technology needs further development and validation before it can be considered for deployment on a routine basis.