Police in Merseyside, England, will soon be using a biometric bail system, reports Lorna Hughes in an article for the Liverpool Echo. The new system will replace the metropolitan county’s archaic pen-and-paper signature-based bail system.
The way it works right now, suspects being released on bail in Merseyside have to sign a register at a police station under officer supervision. Assistant Chief Constable Ian Pilling says it’s a “resource-intensive” system, and worse still, it’s not very accurate. Merseyside Police recently proved to be one of only nine police forces in the country that could not provide authorities with concrete statistics on bail jumpers. Fortunately, a £70 million Police Innovation Fund has provided the resources – £360,000, to be precise – for the Merseyside Police to upgrade to a electronic system that will use thumbprint scans to track suspects released on bail.
Police are increasingly relying on biometric technology to assist in their work. While it can sometimes lead to clashes with privacy rights advocates, it can also definitively help law enforcement authorities in investigations, as in the recent case of the fraudster who faked his own death, only to be caught later with the aid of facial recognition technology. Fingerprint and thumbprint biometrics technologies are also increasingly being used by police in the field, allowing them to identify prints and match them to database records on the spot.
April 2, 2015 – by Alex Perala