By Daily Mail Reporter
Every police force in England and Wales will soon start using mobile fingerprint scanners to check suspects’ identity in the street.
Security officers on patrol will be able to use the devices, which are about the size of a mobile phone, to check the fingerprints against national records.
Up to 3,000 devices will be distributed to each of the 43 forces across England and Wales after senior officers claimed they will save hours of police time and speed up inquiries.
The National Policing Improvement Agency has signed a three-year contract worth £9million with U.S. firm Cogent System to provide the devices.
Deputy Chief Constable Peter Goodman, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: ‘This new technology will allow police to more easily confirm the identity of suspects on the street without having to arrest them and return to the police station to confirm who they are – as we currently have to do.
The decision comes after a successful trials of 330 similar devices in 2006, which showed officers saved at least 30 minutes every time they used the machine.
However, some are concerned the new devices could encourage police to conduct random searches.
Campaign group Liberty said last year it had ‘very real concerns’ about the possibility of the introduction of such devices.