London’s Metropolitan Police Service has developed a mobile biometric device that scans suspects’ fingerprints and can confirm a known criminal within 60 seconds.
The portable device, named INK Biometrics , is made up of software produced by Met staff, and is used on an Android smartphone handset paired with a Crossmatch fingerprint reader .
It confirms a suspect’s identity by securely communicating with the Home Office’s Biometric Services Gateway, which searches the Criminal Records Office and immigration enforcement databases.
Claiming to be the first British police force to bring this technology on board, the Met said the portable fingerprint device will save both officer time and public money.
t will do this by allowing faster identification of wanted offenders and by removing the need for officers to return to base – keeping them out on the streets for longer, the force said.
Although similar technology has been used by the Met and other forces since 2012, the new kit is not only cheaper but it allows six times as many devices to be deployed than previous methods.
Over the next six months, 600 devices will be rolled out to front line officers across London, saving an estimated £200,000 in support costs per year
“Fingerprints are only taken where there is legal cause under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act but by giving more officers access to this technology it will reduce the need for suspects to be taken to police stations to have their identity checked,” the Met Police said.
“This will also free up limited custody space for offenders who do require detention.”
If a suspect has a criminal record, their identity can be confirmed at the roadside and an officer could also use the device to check the Police National Computer to see if they are currently wanted for any outstanding offences.
The biometric devices can also be recharged in a police vehicle.
All fingerprints taken on the scanner are deleted automatically once the officer logs off the device, the Met said.