Police criticised for using live facial recognition in Cardiff during Beyoncé concert

South Wales police said the technology would be used to help identify people wanted for "priority offences"

Police have been criticised for using live facial recognition in Cardiff during Beyoncé‘s concert last night (May 18).

Thousands of fans descended on the Welsh capital’s Principality Stadium on Wednesday for the music icon’s first UK date of her ‘Renaissance’ world tour.

Ahead of the show, South Wales police said the facial recognition technology would be used in Cardiff city centre, but not at the stadium itself, to help identify people wanted for “priority offences” (via The BBC).


They added that it would be used “to support policing in the identification of persons wanted for priority offences… to support law enforcement… and to ensure the safeguarding of children and vulnerable persons”.

Beyoncé performs onstage during the opening night of the “RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR” at Friends Arena on May 10, 2023
Beyoncé, 2023. CREDIT: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

“Facial Recognition is not a condition of entry and it will not be on the stadium footprint,” a spokesperson said.

However, the technology has been criticised by human rights campaigners due to concern about racial bias.

South Wales Police added that the biometric data won’t be stored of anyone who is not on a watch list, and is instead immediately deleted.

The same technology was used at the King’s Coronation where campaigners expressed similar human rights concerns.


Daragh Murray, a senior lecturer of law at Queen Mary University in London, told The Guardian that he found it “very hard to believe that it could be useful at a concert, or at a rugby match”.

“But given the really significant interference with human rights, I think it’s up to the police to provide a really compelling argument as to why it’s necessary.”

The UK leg of Beyoncé’s world tour continues this week in Edinburgh (20), followed by Sunderland (23). She will then perform in Paris on May 26 before returning to the UK for five London dates at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 29 and 30, June 1, 3 and 4.

Elsewhere, Beyoncé has shared the full list of credits for her ‘Renaissance’ world tour, including names of the show’s dancers, producers, technicians, lighting directors, choreographers and more.

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