A senior English police official has defended the controversial pilot use of facial recognition software at a music festival earlier this year, saying it will aid investigations.Speaking to the Leicester Mercury, Leicestershire's Chief Constable Simon Cole said the tech – a portable NeoFace surveillance solution made by NEC Corporation – could identify wanted criminals almost instantly.Facial recognition is as significant a breakthrough for policing as the development of fingerprinting a century ago and, more recently, DNA coding, he said.Cole said the decision to experiment with the technology at the Download festival in June was correct, and predicted its use would spread among police forces and private companies.The system can scan suspects caught on CCTV, officers body-worn cameras or other visual recordings. It cross-references suspects' faces with a database of more than 90,000 people who have passed through its custody suites in the past few years.In June prior to the festival DC Walker told the Police Oracle that this is the first time the technology has been used outside of a controlled environment.At the time, police confirmed that the facial recognition system does not capture or save images. It compares them to a database that has been put together solely for the event and will be.In March, an oversight committee had said it was “alarmed” that the British police had begun uploading custody photographs of people to a Police National Database and using facial recognition software on the images without any regulatory oversight.