Police hail fingerprint scanner as vital in crime fight
PORTABLE fingerprint scanners which will enable police officers to identify potential suspects and access their criminal history while on patrol could soon be issued to forces across Scotland.
Scots police and immigration officers believe the scanners, which are no larger than mobile phones, could play a vital role in their battle against criminals and illegal immigrants, at least 1,000 of whom give false names and addresses each year.
The device allows a suspect’s fingerprints to be taken upon arrest and compared by remote connection with a database of 50,000 prints.
If that fails to turn up a match, the system also connects by mobile phone signal to a central Scottish database consisting of 350,000 prints, allowing the authorities to cross-check their suspect with the most updated police records.
Immigration authorities, including officials at Glasgow Airport, are already testing the system as part of their campaign against potentially bogus asylum seekers.
The scanners can legally be used on anyone who has been arrested and they avoid the inconvenience of having to take fingerprints manually at a police station. According to the Scottish Fingerprint Service, out of 90,000 arrests throughout Scotland each year, 950 suspects give a false name or address.
However, civil liberties campaigners have greeted the device with dismay and claim that it may lead to more random detentions of innocent people.
John Scott, chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Centre, said: "I think that we should always be concerned that if the authorities have access to this kind of technology, then there is scope for misuse.
"It will lead to more people being randomly stopped and questioned, because the police will think they are able to identify people easily and quickly through fingerprints."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West