ESSEX Police is planning to implement new facial recognition technology and has advertised for a contract to procure the “cutting edge” technology.

A £400,000 deal has been posted on the Government website for bidders to submit offers for hardware, technical support services, and software support.

This would “enable the provision of two fully functional CCTV vans and appropriate cameras for Essex Constabulary”, according to the contract summary.

Bidders had until Friday to submit any offers for the contract.

Gazette: Positive – Essex Police said feedback from the public about the technology was 'really positive'Positive – Essex Police said feedback from the public about the technology was 'really positive' (Image: Essex Police)

The use of facial recognition would allow the police to compare live camera feeds of faces against a predetermined database of people who are considered of interest to the force.

Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings said in February the first deployment was “really positive” and had resulted in the arrest of two suspects in Chelmsford and Southend.

He said: “Only images of specific people wanted or suspected in connection with high harm and/or violent crimes appear on that database.

“If you’re not on the ‘watch list’, your face cannot be matched.”

He added: “If you walk through an area where live facial recognition is being deployed and you are not one of the specific people we’re trying to locate, your image will be immediately and automatically deleted.”

Mr Jennings added the successful trial, which was run after Essex Police loaned some of the technology from the South Wales Police force, had contributed to a fuller rollout of the technology.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Jennings said there was a “great response” by members of the public.

He said: “We’re an innovative, forward-thinking force and utilise new technology to keep people safe and deter crime.

“Cutting edge technology is playing an important role in protecting the public, responding to and investigating crimes, and getting justice for victims.

Gazette: Trial – the technology was tested in Southend and ChelmsfordTrial – the technology was tested in Southend and Chelmsford (Image: Essex Police)

“We trialled live facial recognition technology we had loaned from South Wales Police in October last year.

“Not only was it a great operational success with five positive alerts over two days and three arrests, including for robbery and rape, but we had great response from the public about its use.

“Since that positive trial, we have been investigating procuring our own technology and that process is ongoing.”