London Police will scan fingerprints on the street

London Police will use mobile fingerprint scanners to help quickly identify detained suspects, accident victims, and dead bodies.Similar systems are already in use in 23 police forces across the UK, including West Midlands police.

The mobile fingerprint scanners will connect wirelessly to the Police National Computer database. Officers will then be able to determine whether the person has a criminal record or any outstanding arrest warrants. This should significantly reduce the amount of time needed to identify suspects, particularly if they are actively trying to obscure their identity.

The systems should also help police deal efficiently with the huge influx of tourists expected at the 2012 Olympics being held in London. Facial recognition systems to scan spectators’ faces as they enter stadiums have previously been considered.The announcement to use mobile fingerprint scanners comes days after UK police forces said they would use specialised equipment to extract data from suspects’ mobile phones, to aid their investigations. That move raised concerns over the length of time data would be retained after a suspect is charged or released. The UK’s national DNA database – the largest in Europe – is notorious for containing over half a million errors and for holding the data of over 850,000 people never convicted of a crime.

Police were quick to assert that fingerprint data gathered in the street would only be used for identification purposes and would not be retained.

Source: BBC News article

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