SA Police use mobile fingerprint tech in Aussie first

NEC deploys a mobile fingerprint solution for SAPOL

NEC is helping South Australian Police catch crooks with new mobile fingerprint technology.

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The ICT solutions firm has developed and deployed a mobile fingerprint solution for SAPOL that puts Australia’s criminal database at an officer’s fingertips anywhere there is access to a 3G/4G mobile data network.

This is the first time that any Australian police force has implemented mobile identity management technology.

Instead of verifying a person's identity with fingerprint scanning technology at the station, SAPOL officers can now do this at the scene of a crime or during other questioning.

The technology uses a lightweight fingerprint capture unit, which is connected via bluetooth technology to an Android smartphone.

The device is installed with an app that officers use to cross-reference captured fingerprints against Australia’s Crimtrac National Police Reference database.

If a match is found, results are displayed on the device as a 'hit', containing additional information about the person such as any bail conditions, outstanding warrants, current photo, address details and any behaviour characteristics such as possibly violent tendencies.

SAPOL and NEC ran a trial deployment of 20 biometric scanners and smartphone pairs beginning in late 2013.

Having been deemed a success, the mobile identification technology will be deployed across 150 units.

NEC, director of communications solutions, D’Wayne Mitchell, said the rollout and operation had been a complete success.

“It’s helped the South Australia Police force identify a number of suspects with outstanding warrants, bail conditions and aided investigations into missing persons,” he said.

Upon capturing a fingerprint with the mobile biometric scanner, SAPOL officers with a paired Android device will now be able to use public 3G and 4G mobile networks to access the Crimtrac National Police Reference database, and verify whether a captured fingerprint is registered in CrimTrac’s National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS).

NAFIS currently contains 5.6 million sets of finger and palm records for 3.3 million people.

For security, NEC has developed a dedicated secure gateway, which supports auditing requirements and handles requests to NAFIS through CrimTrac’s National Portable Biometric Identification application interface.

It ensures that no data is stored on the device. Legislation will need to be passed before police can compel a person to provide their fingerprints.

Changes to the Summary Offences Act and the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act 2007 will be required and are being progressed.

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Tags South Australian policeD’Wayne MitchellAustralia’s Crimtrac National Police Reference databaseNEC

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