MobileID continues to deliver results

Twelve months on from the introduction of mobile fingerprint scanners, West Midlands Police is continuing to see a huge drop in the time taken to identify suspects, saving thousands of police hours in the process.

Oct 2, 2013
By Paul Jacques

Twelve months on from the introduction of mobile fingerprint scanners, West Midlands Police is continuing to see a huge drop in the time taken to identify suspects, saving thousands of police hours in the process.

The mobile identification (MobileID) technology is being used by neighbourhood priority teams, Safer Travel officers, motorway police and the Guns and Gangs Unit

Around 70 of the pocket-sized devices are in use across the region. They are satellite linked to the national fingerprint database and instantly alert officers if the scanned prints belong to a convicted criminal. Officers can then cross-reference against the Police National Computer to find out if the person is wanted by police or the courts.

The most recent success for MobileID was with a burglary suspect who provided a false name when he was stopped in Dudley on suspicion of shoplifting.

“The man gave false details so naturally he came up as ‘no trace’ on national police systems – he would have been hoping for a caution or community resolution as a first-time offender, but realised the game was up when officers produced the MobileID kit,” said Inspector Stephen Danks, who revealed the man was in fact wanted for a burglary in Southend, Essex.

“Officers across Dudley use the mobile print scanners every day in our drive to cut crime; it’s proved particularly useful in tackling cross-border criminality and offenders who believe they’ve more chance of evading justice by committing crimes outside their ‘patch’.”

Force lead for MobileID, Chief Inspector Darren Walsh, said: “The mobile scanners have proved a resounding success. The number of people being brought into custody simply to confirm their ID has reduced from approximately 130 a month to just 25. The kits have freed-up many hundreds of hours of police time every month.”

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