Police to use hi-tech fingerprint scanners

13/08 Updated: 13/08 14:11

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Buy photos » A mobile finger print identification device which are to be used on the streets of Coventry (s)

HI-TECH fingerprint scanning devices that allow officers to identify crime suspects on the streets in seconds are to be used by police.

Officers in Birmingham have been trialling the pocket-sized gadgets that are satellite linked to a national fingerprint database and instantly alert officers if the scanned prints belong to a convicted criminal.

And it has proved such a success the force has bought 70 to be used across the West Midlands from Monday.

It will save officers many hours of time and means suspects cannot try providing false name and address.

Chief Inspector Darren Walsh said: "The scanners cut bureaucracy and save countless police hours by keeping officers out on the streets rather than hauling suspects through potentially drawn-out custody procedures.

"Traditionally, if officers had suspicions about an individual we'd need to take them to a police station, go through the custody process, and fingerprint them at the station which could take hours.

"The MobileID kits quickly confirm whether an arrest is necessary and frees-up officers to be on the streets protecting the public."

During the pilot scheme, Birmingham officers used them to make swift arrests of burglary suspects and people who had failed to turn-up for court appearances.

The device is only used to check prints against the national database and does not permanently store details.

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