July 3, 2012 -
The Norfolk detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has begun to test the use of a digital fingerprint and palm print scanner for criminal record checks. No other detachment in Ontario has this kind of technology and it is currently in use to help Norfolk detachment process its criminal record check requests faster.
People can have their identities checked and cleared by simply entering their fingerprint and palm prints into a scanner. The machine then digitally records the biometric data and then relays the data over to the RCMP database to be run against the records of former and current offenders.
Before the fingerprint scanner was in place in Norfolk, it used to take at least six months to process such requested through the RCMP database. Now, a transaction involving fingerprints and palm prints only requires approximately two weeks of clearing time.
People who often submit themselves to biometric sampling are those who need the appropriate clearances in the event of applying for a job or when they are volunteering for community based positions. Other reasons for wanting to get a clearance from the Norfolk OPP would be to address immigration and citizenship issues.
The detachment in Simcoe, Ontario has been especially chosen for the pilot project and is currently the only one of its kind in Ontario. The system has yet to be used for biometric sampling against criminals and those accused of a crime. However, the fingerprint scanner has been used 371 times since its installment in the detachment last fall of 2011.