Police forces in England and Wales have up to 18 million "mugshots" on a facial recognition database, including many who have never been charged or have been cleared of any offences. This has important implications for privacy and civil liberties.

In 2012 despite a ruling of the UK High Court warning police forces to revise their policies in "months, not years", no action seems to have been taken because the law in this field remains uncertain. Therefore, it is not illegal at present for police forces to retain their data bases of downloaded images. It is likely that there will be a public debate on possible legislation against the need for national security.