Soccer-Palmeiras' facial recognition on match tickets helps police arrest criminals

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Brasileiro Championship - Palmeiras v Coritiba - Allianz Parque, Sao Paulo, Brazil - June 4, 2023 General view inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Carla Carniel/File Photo

(Reuters) - Facial recognition technology used on match tickets by top flight soccer club Palmeiras has helped the Sao Paulo Public Security Secretariat (SSP) arrest 28 criminals in four games at the Allianz Parque stadium, the government body said on Friday.

The facial biometrics system, implemented this year by the Brazilian club through the 'Muralha Paulista' programme, aims to ensure that the person who has purchased a ticket from Palmeiras is the same as the fan entering the stadium.

However, its use has also helped the SSP apprehend criminals before they enter the stadium to watch the team play. It has also identified 253 missing persons.

"We invested in the implementation of facial recognition to protect our greatest asset, which is the Palmeiras fans," club president Leila Pereira said in a statement.

"We want our home to be increasingly safe for all the families that visit it and we are pleased to contribute to the public security authorities."

The facial recognition technology at matches allows real-time analysis to detect fans who have bought tickets from touts, the use of false or third-party documents, outstanding arrest warrants, non-compliance with court orders and sanctions.

After someone is identified, access to the stadium is blocked and police are alerted to intervene.

"This is an action of the police intelligence area with the objective of making the event venue safer and preventing access to people who could compromise public order," said SSP Secretary Guilherme Derrite.

The SSP have issued arrest warrants related to theft, embezzlement, robbery and drug trafficking.

As well as the 28 detained, 42 people not complying with court orders were prevented from entering the stadium with the courts notified.

(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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