Newham police can now identify fingerprints on-the-spot

�Newham police now have a mobile fingerprint identification scanner in the fight against crime.

The phone-size device allows police to read the fingerprint of an index finger to check with information on the national database. It does not retain them afterwards.

The new technology can check a person’s identity in minutes and has been invaluable in instances where an individual is suspected of committing an offence, or wanted for a previous offence.

It can also be used to identify people unconscious at scenes of incidents, or the deceased.

Newham is among 12 London boroughs now using the gizmo. They are also being used by the Territorial Support Group and Traffic and Safer Transport Command.

The Met was among 28 forces who took part in national trials which reported significant benefits, including faster identification of perpetrators of crime, increased time on the frontline for officers and improved levels of public confidence.

Met assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said: “Mobile identification is a technological step forward that helps police officers identify people quickly.

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“Evidence has shown that a full identification arrest can tie-up both the subject and the officer for several hours.”

Tom McArthur, NPIA director of operations, said: “Identification is crucial to investigations and giving officers the ability to do this on-the-spot within minutes is giving them more time to spend working in their communities, helping to fight crime, bringing more offenders to justice and better protecting the public.”