Feeds

West Midlands plods get mobile fingerprint tech

Portable mobile dab-slabs lead to Brummie collars felt

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

West Midlands police is to introduce fingerprint scanning devices, which allow officers to find out if a person is wanted by police or the courts.

The force said it plans to roll out 70 hand-held MobileID devices following a successful pilot of the technology. The devices are satellite-linked to a national fingerprint database and instantly alert officers if the scanned prints belong to a convicted criminal. Police can then cross-reference this information against the Police National Computer.

Police in east Birmingham have been trialling the technology for several months and West Midlands said that the devices have been effective. According to the force, the scanners have cut bureaucracy and saved police time by keeping officers out on the streets, rather than having to put suspects through lengthy custody procedures when it may not be necessary.

During the pilot of the devices, officers in east Birmingham were able to make swift arrests of suspected burglars and people who had failed to turn up for court appearances, said West Midlands.

Darren Walsh, chief inspector at the force, said that the devices mean that suspects cannot try and provide false details about their identity.

"Traditionally, if officers had suspicions about an individual we'd need to take them to a police station, go through the custody process, and fingerprint them at the station which could take hours. The MobileID kits quickly confirm whether an arrest is necessary and frees up officers to be on the streets protecting the public," he said.

The devices are used to check prints against the national database and doesn't permanently store scanned images, the force said. Walsh added that no information is kept for use at a later date.

Mobile is part of the National Policing Improvement Agency's (NPIA) Information Systems Improvement Strategy (ISIS), which aims to transform the way police technology is used and managed nationally. The soon-to-be-abolished agency started making the devices available to police forces in England and Wales in July 2011.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.