POLICE smartphones have been fitted with fingerprint scanners to save time and identify potential offenders.

Merseyside Police have this year began rolling out ‘Mobile Biometric Fingerprint Scanners’ that attach to officers smartphones.

It is currently operational with the Road Policing Unit, with the force looking to roll out to all other officer smartphones during 2019.

These devices enable police to check fingerprints against criminal and immigration records and help to identify potential offenders.

St Helens Star:

How does it work?

Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, the law enables the Police to take fingerprints from people who are suspected of offences or whose identity is in doubt.

The fingerprint app searches two live national databases – helping to identify a person of interest who may be withholding their name.

The system also prompts people to be more forthcoming with accurate personal information which enables officers to quickly identify them and saves time.

Fingerprints taken using the device are not stored and are automatically deleted from the device after the check has completed.

Inspector Rob Budden said: “As well as identifying potential offenders, the fingerprint scanner can be used to identify someone who may have taken ill and is unable to identify themselves, which will speed up accurate medical attention.

“It is important that we continually improve our service to our communities. By investing in this type of technology, we can provide an efficient service whilst freeing up officer time and empowering them to deal with suspects there and then.”