East Midlands police forces to digitise fingerprint records

The aim is to create a paperless system

Three East Midlands police forces are set to become the first in England and Wales to have all their paper fingerprint records entirely digitised.

Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire police are handing more than 500,000 records, dating back to 1999, to a private software firm.

The East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) said the move would help trace offenders more quickly.

It added that it will save money on staffing and storage costs.

Ian Gledhill, head of Forensic services at EMSOU, said: "We now have the imaging and print quality to satisfy the requirements of the courts, making the need to hold paper records obsolete.

"This process will effectively make our bureau paperless.

Space shortage

"Digitisation enables us to make identifications within minutes of a print being taken from a crime scene, increasing the prospect of tracing the offender."

EMSOU said the move to digitise records is due to a shortage on space for holding paper records.

However, EMSOU claimed storage space is under pressure after the three forces amalgamated their files last year.

It added there was also a "significant annual cost to store them" and staffing costs will also be reduced.

Prior to 1999, all fingerprint records were sent to Scotland Yard for storage.

Northgate Public Services, a private company which also collects 50% of the UK's council tax, will be carrying out the work for the forces which should only take a few weeks to complete.

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