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East Mids forces become first to test new digital fingerprint technology

Forces in the East Midlands are the first to test new digital fingerprint technology designed and developed by the NPCC’s Transforming Forensics programme.

The technology digitises the fingerprint process end-to-end for the first time, enabling fingerprints to be digitally captured and sent directly from crime scenes to fingerprint bureaux, compared and checked against other biometrics databases, and analysis/evaluation to be recorded. This will speed up the process, improve the quantity and quality of evidence available to investigators and help identify victims and offenders more rapidly.

The fingerprint capability’s first release contains three applications: one for CSIs to enable crime scene imagery to be digitally transferred to bureau; another for the bureau to receive images and digitally manage the fingerprint examination and comparison process; and one enabling Forensic Examination Laboratory staff to upload digital images.

After testing is complete, the next release, which will use live data, will be deployed with the four forces in South West Forensics this summer.

Ultimately, the capability will be available as a service for forces which have signed up to be members of Forensic Capability Network (FCN), the new national network for forensics.

Forces now testing the technology are part of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU). Andrew Price, Director of Technical Services for EMSOU, said:

“Having seen the product up close, my team and I are really excited about the impact it could have for EMSOU and policing more widely. For me, it’s so important that any new capability is shaped by the people who are going to use it, so we’re very pleased to work with the programme team to help them develop their approach.”

In another first, the fingerprint capability is being deployed on the FCN Xchange platform. This is a secure cloud-based platform built by Transforming Forensics to enable data sharing between forces and access to new digital forensics tools, like the digital fingerprint capability.

Transforming Forensics Digital Fingerprint Capability Lead, Richard Meffen, said:

“This is an absolute game-changer for fingerprints and digital forensics, so we’re very grateful to Andrew and his team at EMSOU for their support in developing tools which will benefit forces across the country. This first release on the FCN Xchange is a hugely exciting milestone for the project and moves us significantly closer to the start of our deployment ambitions.”

Demonstrations of the capability are available to forensic teams in policing on request. Contact us to find out more.