Now it's dabs on the go

PUBLISHED: 10:32 23 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010

BEDFORDSHIRE police have become the first constabulary in the UK to begin trials of a mobile fingerprinting device. The device, known as Lantern, was launched yesterday (Wednesday) at Luton and will soon be used by officers throughout the county. Officers

BEDFORDSHIRE police have become the first constabulary in the UK to begin trials of a mobile fingerprinting device.

The device, known as Lantern, was launched yesterday (Wednesday) at Luton and will soon be used by officers throughout the county.

Officers in Hertfordshire will start their trials on January 23.

Lantern works by electronically scanning a person's index fingerprint which is then sent to the central fingerprint database using encrypted wireless transmission.

A real-time search against the national fingerprint collection of 6.5 million prints is then performed and an officer can have any possible matches in less than five minutes.

Bedfordshire police say the device will initially be used to check on the identity of drivers when they are stopped for alleged road traffic offences. It is estimated that up to 60 per cent of drivers give a false name in an attempt to avoid prosecution or fixed penalty fines.

It will also mean that officers will be able to spend more time away from the police station on active duty rather than spending up to three hours processing a person at a station and often having to take them to a suitable custody suite.

Lantern will be initially used by Bedfordshire's Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) team to try and catch cheating drivers.

Ch Supt Nicky Dahl of Bedfordshire police, said: "We're delighted to be given the chance to pilot this new equipment.

"If you can quickly establish someone's identity it means that officers are safer, fewer criminals can evade justice, innocent members of the public are less inconvenienced and police can spend more time out on patrol without having to make frequent trips back to the main police stations."

Tony McNulty, minister for police and security, said: "This trial represents an important step forward in our commitment to ensuring we have an effective police service fully equipped for the challenges of modern policing.

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