Plan to finger guilty drivers

PUBLISHED: 10:59 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 14:55 12 May 2010

A SCHEME allowing police to take the fingerprints of motorists at the roadside is to be tried out in Hertfordshire. The checks have been brought in to help crack down on the number of drivers who give false identities when stopped by police – thought to c

A SCHEME allowing police to take the fingerprints of motorists at the roadside is to be tried out in Hertfordshire.

The checks have been brought in to help crack down on the number of drivers who give false identities when stopped by police - thought to currently be about 60 per cent.

Now, motorists' index fingers will be electronically scanned, and sent to a central database.

A search among 6.5m prints will then be carried out, and any possible matches returned to the police officer in a target time of less than five minutes.

The scheme, part of a national project called Lantern, was launched last Wednesday in Bedfordshire.

It will be piloted by 10 police forces across the country - but will not go live in Hertfordshire until January.

Annual savings of more than £2.2m through time saved in pursuing false identities have been forecast.

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

"The new technology will speed up the time it takes for police to identify individuals at the roadside, enabling them to spend more time on the frontline, and reducing any inconvenience for innocent members of the public.

"It will also act as a visible deterrent, reducing fear of crime and making criminals less mobile."

A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary confirmed the pilot would start in the county on January 23, but said no further comment was being made at this stage.

The pilot scheme will end in December next year.

If successful, plans will be made to roll it out across the whole country.

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