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India and UK each unveil new strategies for the regulation of biometrics and forensic science

Emphasizing the importance of biometrics for criminal justice systems


G. Kishan Reddy, India’s Union Minister of State, has announced the 21st edition of the country’s Fingerprint Bureau 2020 event last week, Devdiscourse reports.

Together with the news of the conference, Reddy also inaugurated the eCyber Lab set up by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Speaking during his video address to the nation, Reddy emphasized the role of the Union Government in tracking crime, and its efforts at modernizing police forces with the use of new technologies, including biometrics.

According to the Minister, the use of biometric fingerprint scanning and digitization of records would be at the forefront of this change.

Underlining the Indian Government’s efforts in this direction, Reddy also said the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) will become functional soon.

NAFIS will partner with NCRB, enabling the investigation and identification of criminals based on their fingerprints on a real-time basis.

UK introduces Forensic Science Regulator and Biometrics Strategy 2019-20

A new bill was published by the UK Government last month, establishing new regulations regarding forensic science’s quality standards.

Sponsored by Darren Jones Labour MP from Bristol North West, the new bill expands the role and responsibilities of the Forensic Science Regulator (FSR).

In the UK legal system, the FSR ensures that the provision of forensic science services across the criminal justice system adheres to an appropriate regime of scientific quality standards.

The bill, which second reading passed on September 25, would transform the FSR role by conferring on it a statutory role.

New duties of the FSR would now include the publishing of a ‘code of practice’ for “forensic science activities,” subject to modifications from the Secretary of State.

The Regulator would also be able to enforce forensic science standards when it suspects forensic science providers would be putting the criminal justice system at “substantial risk”.

Despite its title, there is no information explicitly relating to a biometrics strategy in the bill beyond the FSR role. The omission is described in section 1.2, which you can read, together with the report in its entirety, at this link here (PDF).

The Forensic Science Regulator and Biometrics Strategy 2019-20 bill will undergo further parliamentary scrutiny at a later date.

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