Home Office merges biometrics platforms for Spring 2019 rollout

Police test new Home Office mobile fingerprint technology

After delaying the strategy for over five years, the Home Office has said it plans to consolidate its biometrics platform by Spring next year.

The Home Office brings yet another land of promise to MPs and the UK as it aims to bring together its two biometrics systems, IDENT 1 and IABS, into one by next year after missing the due date last year.

IDENT 1 biometrics platform covers a fingerprint system and the Immigration and Asylum Biometrics System covers facial recognition at the border. The Home Office has now indicated these two capabilities will come together after the contracts expire in March and April 2019, respectively.

Home Office merges biometric platforms for Spring 2019 rollout

The two platforms will merge into one.

By joining the two platforms together the Home Office aims to focus on having the ability to apply multiple biometric capabilities, such as fingerprints, DNA and facial recognition, to work together at once. The new system will require application support and maintenance, infrastructure support services and the migration of the existing system onto a public cloud host.

Furthermore, the merge of the two platforms aims to ensure a more integrated approach to data and transformation by bringing together Home Office expertise and the digital technology capabilities that are on offer today.

The Home Office’s plans for a biometrics platform came under fire last year after a false result was produced from the use of facial recognition at Notting Hill Carnival, which left the wrong person arrested, resulting in the plans being delayed further than they already had been.

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In a statement over the pushback of the plans, Baroness Susan Williams said: “After reviewing it carefully, I have decided that it cannot be finalised until further work has been done in some of these areas, and so it will unfortunately not be possible to publish the Strategy until next year.”

Testing on the market for a single service management capability as begun by the Home Office, which has the potential to include the development of a central platform as part of the Home Office’s Biometric Programme.

Any contract that is confirmed is expected to be worth between £198m and £308m and to run anytime between six and 10 years.