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UK Police Testing Wireless Handheld Fingerprint Scanners

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A mobile fingerprinting trial by the UK's police force has been expanded to include a further ten regional police forces. The project, called Lantern, is managed by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and was initially rolled out to 10 forces last year.

The Lantern device works by electronically scanning the subject's index fingers, which are sent using encrypted wireless transmissions to the central fingerprint database - the National Automated Fingerprint System (IDENT1). A real-time search against the national fingerprint collection of 7.5 million prints is performed, and any possible matches are identified and transmitted to an officer in a target time of under five minutes. Northrop Grumman and Sagem supply the handheld devices and search capability being used in the pilot. Cable & Wireless provide encryption services and secure connectivity.

In a survey of police officers, 90 percent estimated that Lantern was saving at least 30 minutes per case.

Richard Earland, Chief Information Officer at the NPIA said, "Lantern forms part of a wider programme to help reduce bureaucracy in the police service and increase visibility of police officers to the public. As the pilot continues, the NPIA will look at the longevity of the programme and the benefits it presents to improve policing."

Peter Goodman, Assistant Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary and Senior Responsible Owner for the project said, "The second phase of this project reiterates the focus of the police service; to put more officers on the street. The impact that Lantern - and other similar projects - has on policing is vast and I look forward to evaluating the progress of the project within my force and across the other pilot forces."

The new forces using Lantern are; City of London Police, Durham Constabulary, Avon and Somerset Police, Thames Valley Police, Kent Police, Surrey Police, Derbyshire Constabulary, Leicestershire Constabulary, Merseyside Police and Greater Manchester Police.

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Tags: encryption  london  police  fingerprint  fingerprint  npia  UK