New mobile fingerprint scanners are today being introduced by the Metropolitan Police Service in all four East London Lines boroughs.
The Mobile Identification devices are about the size of a mobile phone and read the fingerprint of an index finger. In two minutes, they enable officers to check an individual’s fingerprint against the national database if they are suspected of committing an offence, or are wanted for a previous offence. The scanners do not retain the information afterwards.
Lewisham, Croydon, Tower Hamlets and Croydon are among the 12 London boroughs where the 350 devices will be introduced. The technology is being introduced nationally by the National Policing Improvement Agency, following the successful trial of a similar device in 28 forces, including the Met.
The trials reportedly led to faster identification of criminals and improved public confidence. During the trial, the devices were used as part of the policing of the Royal Wedding and the Notting Hill Carnival.
Chief Superintendent Jeremy Burton, Lewisham Borough Commander told East London Lines: “Mobile Identification is a technological step forward that helps police officers identify people quickly and I am delighted that we will be one of the first Boroughs to utilise it in order to fight crime.”
“Evidence has shown that a full identification arrest can tie-up both the subject and the police officer for several hours. Even a traditional identity check conducted on the street can take an extended period of time to complete.”
“MobileID 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.”