British police to trial new mobile fingerprint tools
12 February 2018 08:37 GMT

British police are to pilot new mobile fingerprint scanners that access immigration and crime databases.

The first stage will see West Yorkshire Police trial 250 of the new devices, before being rolled out by the Home Office across the country.

The scanners checkin seconds against records held in two national databases of fingerprints called IABS and IDENT1.

Chief Inspector Ian Williams said: "For the first time we can now identify somebody on the street through their fingerprints, through those databases", reported the Independent.

"We can get photographs back of the individual, we can get a full PNC (Police National Computer) record of the individual as well which gives us a really thorough identification.

"From the moment we take the fingerprint we're getting results right through to the PNC check and the photograph in less than a minute."

IABS contains the fingerprints of all processed asylum seekers, while IDENT1, designed and managed by American aerospace and defence technology giant Northrop Grunman, holds data from people who have been previously arrested in the UK.

The scanners access records via the Biometric Services Gateway described by the Home Office as “a common platform for future biometrics services”.

The announcement that the devices can be used to identify illegal immigrants comes less than a month after MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee expressed concern over a 10% error rate in official lists of “disqualified people”.