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New fingerprint scanners for police

PUBLISHED: 09:42 24 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:35 05 July 2010

SUFFOLK Police has introduced mobile handheld fingerprint scanners to help in the identification of possible offenders.

The Lantern kits electronically check a fingerprint against the IDENT1 database, a national database that stores all fingerprints from people arrested for recordable offences.

SUFFOLK Police has introduced mobile handheld fingerprint scanners to help in the identification of possible offenders.

The Lantern kits electronically check a fingerprint against the IDENT1 database, a national database that stores all fingerprints from people arrested for recordable offences. If the fingerprint is recognised the device will confirm the name and details of the person, including relevant crime reference data.

In November 2006 an NPIA (National Police Improvement Agency) pilot began with 100 of the Lantern devices being deployed to ten forces. In March 2008 an additional 100 devices were sent out to a further 10 forces and the pilot has now been extended again until 2010, with Suffolk Police being another force to acquire the kits.

Lantern's overarching purpose is to establish and speed up identification, but it also greatly reduces identification arrests.

Previously, if someone was giving false details or they were unable to verify who they were then it may have taken a considerable length of time to identify them. If someone's identity couldn't be established then they would have to be detained and returned to a police station to have their fingerprints taken.

These devices can take a print anywhere and complete a check on that print in only a few minutes. This speeds up the process for the police but also reduces inconvenience for any innocent members of the public.

Once the print is taken and verified it is wiped from the system.

In a NPIA user survey 95pc of officers said the Lantern kit had a positive effect. The kit can be used successfully to catch disqualified drivers, detect people wanted on warrant, identify unconscious and deceased people and even assist with identity theft.


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