Welsh police forces first to pilot fingerprint technology

South Wales and Gwent forces say ground-breaking technology could help in fight against modern slavery and gang crime

Two Welsh police forces have become the first to pilot new technology that gives officers the ability to  search a person's identity without having to take them back to a police station.

The new biometric technology scans a suspect's fingerprints and will confirm their identity within 60 seconds if they are known to police databases.

The three month pilo involves ten scanning devices.

South Wales Police say the technology will improve things for the public as the mobile readers will remove the need to take a suspect to a police station and reduce the time for the  person providing the fingerprints which will enable officers to stay out on the streets.

Its claimed the devices will be extremely effective in dealing with suspects linked to Modern Day Slavery, organised crime or knife crime initiative.

They say the development is another tool for officers to use to confirm a suspect's identity once all other lines of enquiry have failed.

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael said:

“This does not change the basics of working within the law to check a persons identity but it enables it to happen quickly.

"It is important to make best use of technology, to keep the public safe while working within the law and protecting civil liberties.

"Everything a Police Officer does as part of their role, must be proportionate , legitimate and ethical.

"These devices take a traditional method of policing and speed up the identification process, resulting in less time transporting a suspect to custody, less distress and inconvenience for any suspect and increasing the time police officers are available to the public”

Deputy Chief Constable Richard Lewis of South Wales Police said:

"The role of technology is a large part of how we keep our communities safe.

"Investing in new ways of working and providing the latest technology to our officers is a priority for the Digital Services Division, which is a collaborative unit across both South Wales Police and Gwent Police.

"INK devices are part of a range of tools open to officers to confirm a suspects identity. Once all traditional forms of identifying a suspect have been exhausted an officer, under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, will be able to use the device to cross check against police databases"

Deputy Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Jonathan Edwards:

"Initially, ten devices will be deployed across both forces and given to core parts of operational policing.

"These devices will be extremely effective in dealing with suspects linked to Modern Day Slavery, Organised Crime or the knife crime initiative, Op Sceptre which is responding to a national increase in reported knife crime.

"Collaboration between our two forces is enabling new technology to be delivered quicker and more effectively, resulting in greater efficiencies being made to help operational policing respond to increased demand."


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