CCTV system that prevents people from entering the store if they are not wearing a mask is in place across the UK

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A CCTV system that prevents people from entering a store if they are not wearing a face mask is in place across the UK.

The cameras use artificial intelligence to determine if someone walking towards the store’s doors is wearing a mask in an attempt to help staff tackle “difficult” customers.

A screen installed outside the store doors will display a green or red message to automatically allow or deny access to the person.

Customers not wearing a mask will be refused entry automatically and the doors will remain closed.

Cameras use artificial intelligence to determine if a person walking towards the store doors (pictured) is wearing a mask in an attempt to help staff tackle ‘difficult’ customers

CCTV.co.uk, which installs CCTV systems across the UK for residential and business customers, said the technology will protect staff from difficult or “potentially worse” buyers.

But it has not been specified how the technology will work around those who are exempt from wearing a face mask.

Tom Ironside, director of regulation at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), told MailOnline: “While technology can undoubtedly make a useful contribution, the important thing is that we are all reasonable and respectful of each other and rules.

CCTV.co.uk, which installs video surveillance systems across the UK for residential and business customers, said the technology will protect staff from difficult or `` potentially worse '' buyers.

It has not been specified how the technology will work around those who are exempt from wearing a face mask.

CCTV.co.uk, which installs CCTV systems across the UK for residential and business customers, said the technology will protect staff from difficult or “potentially worse” buyers.

“For the safety of staff and customers, we urge everyone to follow the security measures implemented in stores across the country.

Meanwhile, James Ritchey of CCTV.co.uk said: “The technology is just fantastic.

“The CCTV system automatically allows or denies access to the store and means staff don’t have to be exposed to the risk of difficult customers complaining, or worse.

Whiteley’s Garden Center in Mirfield, near Kirklees, West Yorkshire, has already started the system since last week.

They welcome 450 visitors a day and staffing was a full time job.

But since its installation, they have seen a 50% decrease in customer non-compliance.

The solution was developed because it is now the responsibility of the stores to protect both their own staff and the health of their customers.

A screen installed outside the store doors will display a green or red message to automatically allow or deny access to the person

A screen installed outside the store doors will display a green or red message to automatically allow or deny access to the person

Customers not wearing a mask will be refused entry automatically and the doors will remain closed

Customers not wearing a mask will be refused entry automatically and the doors will remain closed

Mr. Ritchey added, “Retailers are working so hard to stay open during these toughest times, and this system means staff are not in the sights of customers unhappy with the current restrictions.

“The other aspect of using an automated system is that customers worry about the virus when they enter a tightly controlled secure Covid-19 store.

This follows the revelation that more than 1,000 AI scanners are monitoring the distance pedestrians approach each other in London, Manchester and other UK cities to provide the government with social distancing data.

The sensors were originally intended to track the flow of traffic, cyclists and walkers to determine how the roads were used, but after the lockdown in March they were fitted with the new functionality.

The makers Vivacity said the data was used to “inform policy decisions” and, in response to privacy concerns, said none of the images were recorded, streamed or used for publicity purposes. application.

Its CEO, Peter Mildon, told BBC Radio Kent: “They don’t record any footage, they don’t broadcast any footage and no one actually watches them.

“We have trained an algorithm to be able to recognize what a pedestrian looks like as opposed to a cyclist or a van or a truck.

A capture from one of the AI ​​cameras, which were fitted with the new feature after the lockdown in March, showing how they are able to spot individual pedestrians and cyclists

A capture from one of the AI ​​cameras, which were fitted with the new feature after the lockdown in March, showing how they are able to spot individual pedestrians and cyclists

“We create a set of statistics on how behavior changes in terms of how people stay close or apart.

“And it is this data that is then useful to inform policy decisions on whether there should be a two-meter ruler or a one-meter plus ruler or whether local lockdown measures are having the impact. that they are envisaged. “

The sensors are also working in Oxford, Cambridge and Nottingham.

The privacy issue was raised at a Kent County Council review meeting on Tuesday after Councilor Simon Jones revealed the cameras were “in the works” for the area, according to Kent Online.

A close up of one of the traffic cameras

A close up of one of the traffic cameras

Mr Mildon added: “Even if Kent Council wanted to use them for enforcement purposes, they couldn’t.

‘The [cameras] allow us to provide anonymous data on how the road is used. There are huge benefits to understanding how this space is used and how it can be improved or how it can be made more secure.

“The idea is to provide an evidence base to verify that interventions that are implemented and have the political benefits that the board envisioned in the first place.

The installation of CCTV cameras using AI comes after the deployment of facial recognition cameras last year, in places such as King’s Cross, which has prompted privacy activists to claim that the Londoners are being watched by “Chinese surveillance”.

The developer behind the 67-acre site in the capital admitted earlier that it had installed the technology, which can follow tens of thousands of people every day.

Canary Wharf was in talks last year to install facial recognition on its 97-acre estate, which is home to big banks like Barclays, Credit Suisse and HSBC.

Big Brother Watch has declared that the use of facial recognition on such a scale is a “worst case for privacy” and Liberty called it “a disturbing expansion of mass surveillance” which threatens “the freedom of ‘expression in our daily life’.

Argent, the King’s Cross estate developer, previously said: “These cameras use a number of detection and tracking methods, including facial recognition, but also have sophisticated systems to protect the privacy of the general public. . “

UK FACE MASK POLICY

Face masks should be worn on public transportation and in many indoor spaces, including stores, malls, indoor transportation hubs, museums, galleries, cinemas, and public libraries.

It is currently legal for passengers to wear face masks in taxis and private rental vehicles, in hospitality areas, such as restaurants and bars, except when eating and drinking. Staff in retail and hospitality establishments are also legally required to wear masks.

If necessary, police and Transport for London (TfL) agents have enforcement powers, including fines of £ 200 (halved to £ 100 if paid within 14 days).

This comes after the World Health Organization and numerous studies suggest that they are beneficial.

As announced, the government will propose changes to mean that for repeat offenders, these fines would double for each offense to a maximum value of £ 6,400.

The Prime Minister has also announced tougher enforcement measures, with businesses facing fines or closures for not following coronavirus rules, meaning there will be consequences for the pubs that try to serve you. at the bar.

National Council of Police Chiefs Chairman Martin Hewitt said: “Individuals, businesses and households all have a responsibility to ensure that the virus is removed and that the police will play their part in helping the public to navigate the measures in place for our safety.

“Our approach of engaging with people and explaining the regulations in place will remain. The vast majority of situations are resolved by following these two steps, with little encouragement or coercive action to be taken, ”he said.

“Police will continue to work with their communities and will only issue fines as a last resort.

“The leaders will step up patrols in high-risk areas and work proactively with businesses, licensing authorities and local authorities to ensure the rules are followed.

“If members of the public are concerned that the law is being broken or that they are experiencing anti-social behavior, they can report it to the police, who will investigate the most appropriate response and target the most problematic behavior.

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