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Metropolitan Police Make Use of Mobile Fingerprinting

Cogent Systems : 25 May, 2012  (Application Story)
The NPIA has rolled out the use of mobile biometric fingerprint readers to the Metropolitan police for victim and criminal identification
Metropolitan Police Make Use of Mobile Fingerprinting
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is the latest force to benefit from the NPIA’s national roll-out of mobile fingerprint scanners.

The MPS is the 25th force to go live with the mobile identification service (MobileID) meaning more than half the police forces in England and Wales are using the scanners since they were launched by the NPIA last year.

Police officers across the Metropolitan Police Service will now be able to check an individual’s identity on the beat within two minutes. MobileID allows police officers to scan a person’s fingerprints while on the beat and check them against information from the national fingerprint database, IDENT1 for verification. Fingerprints taken on MobileID devices are not retained after a search.    

This will enable faster identification of individuals saving the public and police officers time and also help increase the number of offenders who are identified and brought to justice.

The devices also help to cut the number of trips police made back to the police station giving them more time to spend on the frontline. For example, rather than arresting and detaining an individual to establish their identity, which can take up to several hours, it will now take a couple of minutes.

Other benefits reported by forces using the devices include:

* an average saving of at least 60 minutes per case where used
* identification of unconscious or fatal victims at a crime or accident scene
* improved levels of public confidence.

Tom McArthur, NPIA Director of Operations, said: "Identification is crucial to police investigations and giving officers the ability to do this on-the-spot within minutes is giving them more time to spend working in their communities, helping to fight crime, bringing more offenders to justice and better protecting the public."

MPS Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: "Mobile Identification is a technological step forward that helps police officers identify people quickly.

"Evidence has shown that a full identification arrest can tie-up both the subject and the police officer for several hours. Even a traditional identity check conducted on the street can take an extended period of time to complete.

"It is effective particularly in revealing serious and violent offenders who will do everything they can to prevent the police from knowing their true identities.

"This technology means there is increased officer time spent on patrol, and as a result, helps to make communities safer."

DCC Peter Goodman, ACPO lead on MobileID, said: “There is no doubt that MobileID is a powerful tool in the fight against criminals. The devices are benefiting police officers everyday on the front line by identifying offenders, cutting down on wasted time in custody suites and enhancing officer safety, so it’s great to see another force starting to use them. One of the most powerful weapons criminals have is their ability to hide their true identity. With the advent of MobileID, this will become much more difficult, making our communities that much safer.”
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