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Scotland Yard Police Officers try Handheld Fingerprint Devices


Scotland Yard announced it has deployed handheld fingerprint devices to its police officers to help identify suspects almost instantly.

350 cell phone-size devices were distributed to police officers across various parts of London. The device captures fingerprints of suspects and remotely checks them against the police database in a matter of 30 seconds, apprehending would be criminals faster.

This project has been initiated by Britain’s National Policing Improvement Agency, as part of their Information Systems Improvement Strategy program, designed to lower costs with the use of IT.

As reported by the BBC Tom McArthur, NPIA’s director of operations, said, “Identification is crucial to police investigations and giving officers the ability to do this on-the-spot within minutes is giving them more time to spend working in their communities.”

Mark Rowley, Assistant Commissioner for Metropolitan Police Service concurred. “It is effective particularly in revealing serious and violent offenders who will do everything they can to prevent the police from knowing their true identities. This technology means there is increased officer time spent on patrol, and as a result, helps to make communities safer.”

The device can match the suspect’s fingerprint on the spot but it does not retain the prints. Even then, it saved an average of 60 minutes per case.

The device is manufactured by 3M Cogent, Inc., a leading provider of Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) and biometric access control solutions to governments, law enforcement, that is based in Pasadena, California.

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