Hampshire Constabulary officers are leading the way in the use of new technology after topping a recent league table produced by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).
In July of this year, police officers were given the necessary equipment and training to check an individual’s identity on the beat within two minutes, as the NPIA rolled out new mobile fingerprinting devices to forces across the country.
The new Mobile Identification (MobileID) service allows police officers to scan a person’s fingerprints while on the beat and check them against information from the national fingerprint database, IDENT1, for verification. Fingerprints taken on MobileID devices are not retained after a search.
During the six-week period from July 3 to August 15, officers from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight used their devices on 434 occasions, with only Greater Manchester (GMP) and Essex police forces using their devices on more than 300 occasions.
Chief Inspector Cleave Faulkner said: “As a force, Hampshire Constabulary is keen to embrace new technology that will help officers to catch criminals and manage offenders by making the most of our resources.
“However, it is extremely pleasing to hear from the NPIA that not only are our officers trained in using the new kit, they are putting it to good use in the communities they serve and are setting the standards that other forces will be looking to match.”
During the period in question, Hampshire Constabulary officers were using a total of 24 devices. However, there are now 52 devices being used by officers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the third-highest number in the country behind GMP and Lancashire.
The MobileID devices enable faster identification of individuals, saving public and police officer time and also helping to increase the number of offenders who are identified and brought to justice.
The devices have been deployed to more than half the forces in England and Wales this year, including Thames Valley, Surrey and Sussex, helping to cut the number of trips officers make back to the police station and giving them more time to spend on the frontline. For example, rather than arresting and detaining an individual to establish their identity, which can take up to several hours, it now takes just a couple of minutes.