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Facial Recognition Cameras To Be Used In London Within A Month

The Metropolitan Police has announced it will use live facial recognition cameras operationally for the first time on London streets.

Facial Recognition CamerasThe cameras will be in use for five to six hours at a time, with bespoke lists of suspects wanted for serious and violent crimes drawn up each time.

Police say the cameras identified 70% of suspects but an independent review found much lower accuracy. Privacy campaigners said it was a “serious threat to civil liberties”.

Following earlier pilots in London and deployments by South Wales police, the cameras are due to be put into action within a month.

Police say they will warn local communities and consult with them in advance.

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Crimes Leading To Prosecution In Decline

Only about one in 14 crimes reported to police lead to a suspect being charged, official statistics have shown.

PoliceCovering the year up to September 2019, the Home Office figures for England and Wales mark a new low, having fallen from about one in seven in 2015.

It comes as knife crime recorded by police rose by 7% to an all-time high and robberies increased by 12%. But homicides – including murder and manslaughter – fell by 6% to 617 deaths, and fatal stabbings fell 20%.

The proportion of crimes leading to a prosecution in England and Wales has been in continuous decline since 2015, when the figures were first compiled this way.

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Two Russians Suspected Of Spying In Davos

Police apprehended two suspected Russian intelligence agents in Davos last August, a Swiss newspaper reports.

DavosTages-Anzeiger says the men, who had diplomatic passports, may have been preparing a spying operation targeting the World Economic Forum (WEF). It adds that the pair, one of whom was posing as a plumber, were subsequently released.

Swiss police confirmed that two Russians were “checked” in August 2019.

The Russian embassy in Bern said that the newspaper was just trying to “whip out a scandal out of nothing”.

The annual WEF gathering in Davos, which brings together leading politicians and business leaders from around the world, opened in the Swiss town earlier on Tuesday.

In a separate development, US-born financier Bill Browder, who is in Davos, told Reuters the Swiss security service had foiled a Russian operation that targeted him last year.

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Iran Confirms Two Surface-To-Air Missiles Fired At Passenger Plane

Iran has confirmed that two Tor-M1 surface-to-air missiles were fired at the Ukrainian airliner that crashed near Tehran earlier this month.

Tor-M1 Missile SystemThe Civil Aviation Organisation of Iran (CAOI) said the Russian-made missiles were launched from the north. But it added that “the impact of these missiles” was still being assessed.

Iran’s armed forces have said they fired at Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 by mistake on 8 January, killing all 176 people on board.

For the first three days after the tragedy, they denied any responsibility and the CAOI suggested there had been a technical failure. But as evidence mounted, the Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Force said the operator of an air defence system had mistaken the Boeing 737-800 for a US cruise missile and fired at it.

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Terrorism Laws To Be Toughened By Mid-March

Terror offenders will face more time in jail and be monitored more closely as part of new laws being introduced within weeks, the government has said.

Home SecretaryAutomatic early release from prison will be scrapped for terror offenders while a minimum jail term of 14 years for serious crimes will be introduced.

The Home Office said a bill would be brought before Parliament by mid-March. Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government had faced “hard truths” since an attack in London in November.

Convicted terror offender Usman Khan had been on licence from prison when he fatally stabbed Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt at Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge on 29 November last year.

Khan had been released from jail on licence in 2018, half-way through a 16-year sentence for terrorism offences.

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