More than 2,500 people have been identified thanks to a new piece of technology that was launched by the Metropolitan Police Service four months ago.
In August, the Metropolitan Police Service announced the launch of its new identification technology, alongside plans for it to be rolled out to hundreds of frontline officers across London.
Four months after the launch, approximately 400 officers are using the devices on a day-to-day basis. By February 2019, more than 6000 officers will have access to the devices across London.
INK Biometrics (Identity Not Known) was developed by Met staff in a move to save officers time and public money.
The mobile biometric device scans suspects’ fingerprints and can confirm identities within 60 seconds, if they are already known to police and Immigration databases.
Fingerprints are only taken where there is legal cause under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, but since officers have had access to INK, the need for suspects to be taken to police stations to have their identity checked has reduced.
Before the use of these devices, if someone was suspected of an offence, police officers would have to travel back to the station and then check systems to identify a potential suspect.
The average time spent in custody is 14 hours, with each hour costing approximately £30.
In the past four months, INK has been used more than 8,500 times, leading to over 3,000 identifications on the street, saving trips back to police stations to identify someone.
As well as time saving and cost benefits, INK is meeting its expectations; identifying many suspects wanted for serious crimes.
Sergeant Paul Knight, the Met’s IVMA & Mobile Biometrics service manager said: “With permission, officers can use INK to search PNC, preventing the need to use the radio to check on an individual’s status and whether they are wanted or not.
“The general consensus from officers is that the INK devices are easy to use, giving officers a quick responses on a subject’s identity.
“There have been many cases over the past months where INK has provided crucial support in identifying a suspect which has led to arrest and charges.”
On Thursday 8 November, police officers from the Met’s Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command were out on an operation in Ilford to tackle and disrupt the major issue of child sexual exploitation in the area.
Whilst patrolling, police spotted and stopped a 21-year-old man whom they believed was wanted for a sexual assault on a child.
The suspect refused to give any identification details and after initial questioning, officers took the decision to scan his fingerprints there and then.
The INK device rapidly identified that the suspect was the man wanted for the offence and he was subsequently arrested and charged.
He is due to go on trial for sexual assault of a child and child trafficking offences.