New mobile fingerprint scanners which can check a person's identity in
two minutes are being rolled out across the MPS.
From today, Wednesday May 23, Mobile Identification [MobileID] will 'go
live' across the force as part of the Commissioner's commitment to make better
use of technology to fight crime and is part of a nationwide roll out of the
device led by the National Policing Improvement Agency [NPIA].
The MobileID is about the size of a mobile phone and allows police to
read the fingerprint of an index finger. It checks the fingerprints with the
national database but does not retain them afterwards. The device will be used
in instances where an individual is suspected of committing an offence, or
wanted for a previous offence.
In total, 350 devices will be deployed across the MPS over the next
Other units including the Territorial Support Group, Traffic and Safer
Transport Command will also have MobileID capability.
The Metropolitan Police is one of 28 forces who took part in national
trials led by the NPIA, using a similar Lantern mobile fingerprint device. The
field trials reported significant benefits, including faster identification of
perpetrators of crime, increased time on the frontline for police officers and
improved levels of public confidence.
MPS Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: "Mobile
Identification is a technological step forward that helps police officers
identify people quickly.
"Evidence has shown that a full identification arrest can tie-up
both the subject and the police officer for several hours. Even a traditional
identity check conducted on the street can take an extended period of time to
"MobileID is effective particularly in revealing serious and
violent offenders who will do everything they can to prevent the police from
knowing their true identities.
During trial, the MPS used the devices during roadside checks; the policing
of the Royal Wedding and at the Notting Hill Carnival.
The device can also be used to identify people unconscious at scenes of
incidents, or the deceased e.g. in cases of homicide and fatal collisions.
More recently MobileID has been used successfully to confirm identities
of suspected drug dealers in the West End and individuals wanted for other
crimes such as GBH.
Acting Police Borough Commander for Barking and Dagenham Gary
Buttercase said: “Confirming the identity of suspects on the street will speed
up enquiries and save thousands of police man hours. The time saved will in
turn increase the time available for patrolling within the community,
supporting victims and investigating crime ultimately resulting in an even