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Dutch Police refine rapid forensic biometrics approach after early testing

Program leader reveals initial lessons in EUIAI virtual conference
Dutch Police refine rapid forensic biometrics approach after early testing

John A.J.M. Riemen, the lead specialist, manager and custodian of the Dutch Police’s national criminal Automated Biometric Identification System, has shared pre-implementation results from a fast forensics project being carried out in the Netherlands.

Riemen discussed the findings on the first day of the European Division Of The International Association For Identification (EUIAI) online conference, organized with the support of Idemia.

The biometrics expert explained the ‘golden hour’ of fast forensics, which includes gathering evidence like fingerprints from a crime scene during the hour after the crime has been committed. This, according to Riemen, minimizes the amount of evidence lost, maximizes the chance of gathering forensic evidence, and can help solve but also potentially stop crimes.

“We want to do as much as possible on the crime scene itself and process it on the crime scene itself,” Riemen says.

To this end, Dutch Police are deploying an increasing number of mobile devices, some of them biometric, and then immediately analyzing the data across several databases, including international ones, thanks to the Prüm framework.

In particular, Riemen shared two use cases. The first one is the Quick Identification Team (QIT), deployed to tackle terrorist attacks in the country.

“It consists of three forensics-orientated people: a forensic investigator, a digital investigator, and an explosives expert. They go in immediately after the SWAT team has declared the environment safe.”

The second use case shared by Riemen refers to the use of forensics to tackle burglaries, with the biometric expert saying a series of crimes in this category was stopped thanks to forensics technologies.

In terms of specific technology-focused projects, Riemen explained the Dutch Police deployed an app designed to speed up the capture (via photos) and processing of latents (fingerprints left behind at the crime scene).

The Dutch Police first tested the app in a pre-implementation phase, particularly in relation to how to handle smartphones and light sources to take photos of latents.

In this phase, after capturing the data via photos, officers had to manually input them into an AFIS (automated fingerprint identification system) to be matched with entries in databases.

Riemen confirmed the process will be automated in the future, with a single photo typically needed to process the latent and sent directly from a smartphone to the AFIS.

Further, Riemen said the Dutch Police is looking at replacing smartphones with a proof-of-concept (POC) laptop with a built-in, high-end camera, light sources and filters, forensic imaging technologies, and a direct secure connection to the police network.

Last month, in another move aimed at speeding up forensic procedures, Face Forensics launched a victim identification system with biometrics and tattoo recognition.

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