April 1, 2015 -
Local police in Merseyside, England have been granted £360,000 (USD $533,588) from the region’s Police Innovation Fund to purchase and deploy new biometric technology that will allow suspects to answer bail using their thumbprints, according to a report by the Liverpool Echo.
The biometric technology and digital records system will replace the existing paper-based set-up, which requires suspects to visit a police station where they can sign a register.
The paperless bail system was designed after finding that the current system is far too resource intensive, open to forgery, and results in breaches of bail conditions being reported in a timely manner.
“I am delighted that the Home Office continues to recognize the innovative work going on in Merseyside,” said Assistant Chief Constable Ian Pilling. “I am particularly pleased to see the roll-out of the paperless bail system for individuals post-charge in police stations. The current system, which is paper-based and requires suspects to attend a police station and sign a register in person whilst supervised by an officer, is resource-intensive.
“The new system uses electronic thumbprint readers and a digital records system and leads to closer working with other forces on bail management. Not only will the implementation of this system allow us to save money and strengthen the partnerships we already have with our partner agencies but also will ensure we keep our communities safe and feeling safe.”
With the new system, suspects’ thumbprints will be registered when their bail is imposed.
The individuals will then be able to register their attendance at a time and location detailed in their conditions, as well as register their attendance at a digital kiosk.
The suspect’s photograph will also be taken for the purpose of documenting any changes in their appearance.
If the biometric system is successful, it will be extended to other areas, such as tracking registered sex offenders and people subject to football banning orders, said the Home Office.