Mobile fingerprint scanners will soon be used on the beat in Lincolnshire, as the county's police force invests in the latest technology to save officers time and provide 'better value to the taxpayer'.
Lincolnshire Police is rolling-out 130 scanners to its officers – meaning the devices will be available to every police officer in the county. It is one of the first forces in the country to do so, at a cost of £29,000.
The project has been funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones.
Previously officers would have had to take someone to the nearest police station to obtain fingerprints. The scanners are said by the police to take just one minute to work and will be used when a person is believed to have committed a crime and officers suspect they are providing the incorrect details. Officers can also potentially rapidly identify someone experiencing a medical emergency and make contact with their next of kin - if their prints are on their database.
The devices work by checking fingerprints against two national databases and will give officers all the information they need at their fingertips.
Andrew White, Assistant Chief Officer at Lincolnshire Police says: “We want our officers to have the very best tools to do their job and these new scanners are going to save them valuable time. This means they will have more time to do what they do best – tackle crime and keep us all safe.
“It’s really important that we identify someone as soon as possible, to either help our investigations, or inform someone's next of kin if they have been seriously injured and time is of the essence.
"We will also use these to check suspects are who they say they are, so they may be more likely to cooperate with us in the first place.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones added: “This will further compliment the technology that our officers already have to hand. We made a significant investment in getting our officers smartphones which are connected to all the relevant police systems, and introducing these saved every single officer an hour of their time on each shift. This saved the force over 170,000 hours of policing a year."
A total of 900 smartphones, also known as mobile data terminals, are now used operationally by officers. Introducing these saved each officer approximately 192 hours of policing each year – or 172,800 hours between all officers. This saving is said to be worth approximately £1.8m to the force.
Mr Jones added: “I anticipate these scanners will save even more time and I’m delighted to have been able to make this possible. There’s no end to the possibilities these could be used for and I’m keen to see them used in rural communities to tackle hare coursing and for the force to explore using them to identify people who are suffering from mental health issues.”