Met Police builds own fingerprint scanner

Written by Sam Trendall on 17 August 2018 in News
News

London force launches new technology it claims will save £200,000 a year and allow for far more widespread rollout than would otherwise be possible

Credit: Metropolitan Police Service

London’s Metropolitan Police Service claims to have become the first force in the UK to develop its own mobile fingerprint-scanning technology.

The technology – known as INK (Identity Not Known) Biometrics – can scan someone’s fingerprint and, within 60 seconds, inform officers whether that person is featured on either of the Home Office’s two main databases, which cover law enforcement and immigration records, respectively. All fingerprint data is deleted from the INK device (pictured above) as soon as the user logs off.

The product, which can be recharged in police vehicles, consists of software developed by staff at the Met’s digital division and run on an Android smartphone attached to a Crossmatch fingerprint scanner.


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The force added that, while it has used similar technology for the past six years, the INK offering is cheaper, and will allow six times as many devices to be rolled out than the 100 or so that are currently in use across the capital.

The comparative cost saving of rolling out INK, rather than an off-the-shelf product, will be about £200,000 per year, the Met said. Removing the need for officers to return to their station to conduct database searches will also allow them to spend more time out in the community, it added.

Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “I have always been clear in my ambition to make the best possible use of technology to fight crime. The speed of analysis of information that this device will offer will drive effectiveness and efficiency and allow officers to spend more time in our communities and fighting crime." 

She added: “This new technology was developed from the ground up with the full involvement of our officers and as we move forward we need more people like them, to join us with their tech-savvy, innovative thinking. I hope this shows potential officer recruits that policing is fully embracing the digital age and that they can be part of an exciting future.”

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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