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All English and Welsh police forces are getting mobile fingerprint scanners following controversial trials of the tech by several police forces.

The gadgets, from Cogent Systems, have been trialled by 28 forces using 330 devices - this ends in the summer when the new devices will be sent out.

A friendly Bobby takes a young lad's prints

"It's OK, it's not one of those pencil sharpeners"

But the Lantern trial did attract some criticism when the BBC found that ethnic minorities were disproportionately likely to be stopped by police to have their fingerprints checked. Pressure groups called for more transparency of the devices' success and failure rates.

The contract is worth $25m to Cogent over three years with the option to extend it by two years. The contract is based on an expected 10,000 devices although this number may change.

The widgets can take prints from suspects and to help identify dead or unconscious victims at crime scenes.

Cogent is providing not just the pocket scanners but also the backend system, which matches dabs taken with prints on the national fingerprint database.

Press releases are here, and here. ®

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