Metropolitan Police to Deploy Biometric Fingerprint Scanners to Hundreds of Officers

“…the INK Biometrics scans will search for matches against criminal databases within 60 seconds, allowing police work to proceed more efficiently, and ensuring that criminal suspects are not needlessly hauled into police stations for criminal records checks.”

London’s Metropolitan Police are upgrading their biometric capabilities with a new mobile fingerprint scanning system called INK Biometrics (for ‘Identity Not Known’).

Metropolitan Police to Deploy Biometric Fingerprint Scanners to Hundreds of Officers

(image via Metropolitan Police)

To be clear, ‘the Met’, as they’re colloquially known, have been using fingerprint scanners in the field for some time; but they say their less expensive INK Biometrics solution can be delivered to hundreds more officers.

The system operates on an Android smartphone and relies on a Crossmatch fingerprint reader; but remarkably, the Met says its software was developed in-house, helping to facilitate a considerable cost savings for the police force. All told, the Met estimates that the INK Biometrics devices “will save an estimated £200,000 in support costs per annum,” according to a statement announcing the development.

While the Met has come under some public pressure recently over its use of facial recognition technology for surveillance, the benefits associated with its enhanced fingerprint scanning capability should be widely welcomed. Interfacing with the Home Office’s Biometric Services Gateway, the INK Biometrics scans will search for matches against criminal databases within 60 seconds, allowing police work to proceed more efficiently, and ensuring that criminal suspects are not needlessly hauled into police stations for criminal records checks. Moreover, the Met says that the devices will automatically delete all fingerprints scanned as soon as a given user logs off, helping to protect citizens’ privacy.

The Met says it plans to roll out 600 of the devices to its officers over the next six months.

August 15, 2018 – by Alex Perala