The Metropolitan Police Service has become the first British police force to develop its own mobile fingerprint device in a move that will save both officer time and public money.
The mobile biometric device, named INK Biometrics (Identity Not Known), scans suspects’ fingerprints and will confirm their identity within 60 seconds if they are known to police databases. This allows faster apprehension of wanted offenders and by removing the need to return to base will keep officers out on the streets for longer.
Although similar technology has been used by the Met and other forces since 2012, the new kit is cheaper which allows six times as many devices to be deployed – 600 devices will now be rolled out to frontline officers across London in the next six months.
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. This will also free up limited custody space for offenders who do require detention.
The portable device comprises of software produced by Met staff, used on an Android smartphone handset and paired with a Crossmatch fingerprint reader. The device securely communicates with the Home Office developed Biometric Services Gateway (BSG), which searches the Criminal Records Office and immigration enforcement databases.