Police test new Home Office mobile fingerprint technology

Police test new Home Office mobile fingerprint technology

The use of biometrics continues to expand across the different sectors, as police forces are expected to use the technology to check against records using an app and mobile phone. 

West Yorkshire Police will deploy the system, initially deploying 250 scanners to officers in the coming weeks. Forces will be able to check criminal and immigration records with the use of fingerprint biometrics.

The app will connect to two live databases (IDENT1 and IABS) via the new Biometric Services Gateway enabling the officer to verify the fingerprints. The Biometric Services Gateway, enabled by Home Office technology, will also result in substantial costs savings, as the new system is available at a fraction of the cost of those currently in use.

Amid concerns brought up already, fingerprints are automatically deleted from the device once they have been checked. This will ensure the information accessed from the Biometric Services Gateway remains secure.

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said: “The Biometric Services Gateway is just one of a series of national systems the Home Office is designing with policing to give officers information at their fingertips faster than ever before.

“By cutting out unnecessary trips to and from the police station, mobile technology is really helping to save valuable time and allowing officers to do what they do best – cutting crime and keeping us safe. It’s clear that by embracing technology the police can improve efficiency and, if all forces delivered the level of productivity from mobile working as the leading forces, the average officer could spend an hour a day extra on the frontline.”

The new technology also enables officers to quickly identify someone experiencing a medical emergency and make contact with their next of kin.

GDS puts plans in place to expand the technology as well

WYP assistant chief constable Andy Battle said: “The introduction of these fingerprint devices is a significant step forward for West Yorkshire Police and marks another milestone in our technological ambitions.

“As we have already experienced in the trial, the combination of these digital solutions bring tangible benefits to policing our communities. It means we can submit fingerprints of suspects from the street to a live time national database and receive results in less than a minute.”

From a cost perspective, the scanners used by West Yorkshire Police cost less than £300, which is only 10% of the cost of current mobile fingerprint systems. The app is already available to its 5,500 frontline officers, with another 20 forces across the country are expected to roll out the system by the end of 2018.