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At the beginning of 2005 it was announced that the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) had signed an eight-year £122 m contract to introduce biometric identification technology. PITO are also planning to use CCTV facial recognition systems to identify known suspects; a future link to the proposed National Identity Register has been suggested by some.

Freedom of speech
The police have sometimes been accused of infringing on free speech. In December 2005, author Lynette Burrows was interviewed by police after expressing her opinion on BBC Radio 5 Live that homosexuals should not be allowed to adopt children. The following month, Sir Iqbal Sacranie was investigated by police for stating the Islamic view that homosexuality is a sin.

Photography of police
Section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 came into force on 15 February 2009 making it an offence to elicit, attempt to elicit, or publish information "...of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" about: a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces; a constable, the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service, or Government Communications Headquarters. Any person found guilty faces 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. It is a defence for a person charged with this offence to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for their action. It is not otherwise illegal to photograph or film a police officer in a public place per se. It must be noted however that any film or photography recorded whilst a constable is dealing with an incident may be seized as it becomes evidence under section 19 of Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Policing of public protests
In April 2009, a total of 145 complaints were made following clashes between police and protesters at the G20 summit. Incidents including the death of 47-year-old Ian Tomlinson,  minutes after an alleged assault by a police officer, and a separate alleged assault on a woman by a police officer, has led to criticism of police tactics during protests. In response, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson asked Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) to review policing tactics, including the practice of kettling.

Police undercover conduct
During 2010 and 2011, it emerged that, while engaged in covert infiltration of protest groups, undercover police officers had entered into intimate relationships with a number of people on false pretences and under assumed aliases, in some cases sharing a home, making plans for weddings, or fathering children, only to vanish after some years when their role was complete. In 2015 a public inquiry under a senior judge was announced. In November 2015 the Metropolitan Police published an unreserved apology in which it exonerated and apologized to those women who had been deceived and stated the methodology had constituted abuse and a "gross violation" with severely harmful effects, as part of a settlement of their cases. In 2016 new cases continued to come to light.

Capacity to solve crimes
Recorded crime rose by almost a third in three years to 2018, but charges or summons dropped by 26% and arrests also fell. Neighbourhood policing capacity has fallen on average by at least a fifth since 2010. Neighbourhood policing is important in dealing with terrorism and gang crime, especially in communities where the police are distrusted. Yvette Cooper said the police were, "performing a remarkable public service in increasingly difficult circumstances" though they were, "badly overstretched" and responding with difficulty to increasing challenges like online fraud and online child abuse. Only a very small proportion of online fraud cases are investigated and the police are, "woefully under-resourced" for the number of online child sexual abuse investigations they must undertake. Che Donald of the Police Federation of England and Wales said the government should acknowledge the, "true cost of policing" or officers would be unable to keep the public safe.

Police sex abuse allegations
In 2016, allegations of serious sexual abuse were made against hundreds of police officers in England and Wales, with several forces in England and Wales receiving 436 allegations of abuse of power for sexual gain against 436 police officers, including 20 police community support officers and eight staff in the two years to March 2016. Mike Cunningham, inspector of constabulary and former chief constable of Staffordshire police said: “It's the most serious form of corruption. It is an exploitation of power where the guardian becomes an abuser. What can be worse than a guardian abusing the trust and confidence of an abused person? There can be no greater violation of public trust.”

If there is a no deal Brexit the UK will lose access to important cross border databases of criminals, which may make it harder for the police to keep the public safe. Police leaders warn of “a significant loss of operational capacity” if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement on policing. The Association of Police and Crime Commissioner sent a letter to Home Secretary, Sajid Javid stressing the need for co-operation with European policing and justice organizations after March 2019. The letter states 32 measures are currently used daily including the European Arrest Warrant, the Schengen Information System - a database giving alerts about individuals - and the European Criminal Records Information System. The letter stresses the importance and mutual benefit of continued cooperation between the UK and Europe to face mutual threats.

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