West Yorkshire Police has signed up for a new identity verification service, according to the government.
The new service, which is currently being utilised in a few force locations and will be rolled out to another 20 by the end of the year, will eliminate the requirement for suspects to be escorted to a police station for identity checks.
It is expected that this will assist both frontline officers and detainees, allowing officers to focus on other tasks and eliminating unnecessary detentions.
Leaders of the police force have stated:
“Early examples of the new system in action include a firearms unit, who detained a driver after a short pursuit and were able to identify him as a disqualified driver, despite him giving false details. He was issued with a summons for three offences and his vehicle seized. The armed response unit returned to patrol within ten minutes, and without the mobile fingerprint scanner this could have resulted in the unit being out of action for four hours taking the individual to a custody suite.”
The new solution connects a small fingerprint scanner to a smartphone application. Within seconds of capturing a print, the suspect’s identity may be verified using the two primary police databases, allowing officers to deal with the suspect more effectively.
While this technology has been available for a few years, it is now affordable enough for a countrywide rollout due to reduced pricing. Scanners that used to cost around £3,000 are now available for less than £300.
The prominent human rights organisation, Liberty, has been less enthused, stating:
“This scheme is part of a pattern of the police using radical privacy-invading technology without proper public consultation or meaningful parliamentary oversight. Much like the facial recognition technology that is increasingly being deployed by police forces, it is being presented to us after the event and with little fanfare and is being made available to more and more officers across the country. In this case, we learned about it via a sneaky gov.uk post early on a Saturday morning.”
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 contains essential safeguards for suspects. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns concerning the use of these abilities. When the prosecution uses fingerprint identification as evidence, we always take further precautions to guarantee that the law has been followed.
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