FINGERPRINT technology is being used for the first time by welsh forces on the streets.

Gwent Police and South Wales Police will now have the power to take fingerprints to confirm the identity of a suspect without having to take them back to a police station.

The mobile biometric device, named INK Biometrics (Identity Not Known), scans the suspects fingerprints and will confirm their identity within 60 seconds if they are known to police databases.

The introduction of this technology will see an improvement for the public as the mobile biometric readers will allow for faster apprehension of wanted offenders, will remove the need to take a suspect to a police station, reduces the time for the person providing the fingerprints and enables officers to stay out on the streets.

This development is another tool for officers to use to confirm a suspect’s identity once all other lines of enquiry have failed.

Deputy Chief Constable Jonathan Edwards of Gwent Police said: “Initially, ten devices will be deployed across both forces and given to core parts of operational policing.

“These devices will be extremely effective in dealing with suspects linked to modern day slavery, organised crime or the knife crime initiative, Op Sceptre which is responding to a national increase in reported knife crime.

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“Collaboration between our two forces is enabling new technology to be delivered quicker and more effectively, resulting in greater efficiencies being made to help operational policing respond to increased demand.”

Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Cuthbert said: “It is important that our communities understand that our officers carry out their roles in an open, honest and transparent way.

“Confirming a person’s identity is a cornerstone of policing, this technology builds on an officers training and provides them with an additional tool to help them carry out their role.

“Through working in partnership, we have been able to deliver new technology that helps prevent crime, support victims and improves service delivery for members of the public.

“This technology will enable our officers to intervene earlier and reduce the crimes that cause the most harm in our communities.”

The pilot will be carried out over a 3-month basis and reviewed in line with the governance structures of both forces.