– Police to carry out on-the-spot fingerprinting in the street even for minor traffic offences (Daily Mail, August 1, 2011):
Police are now armed with a device that can scan fingerprints so they can correctly identify suspects who lie about their details.
In what sounds like something out of George Orwell’s dystopia 1984, suspects can now be finger printed in the street thanks to the new hand-held police gadget.
The mobile identification service scans a print, then checks it by trawling through a national database for the details.
But police insist they do not retain the print afterwards.
The device is about the size of a mobile phone and allows police to read the fingerprint of an index finger.
It can search 8.5million prints on the database in two minutes.
Operational officers justify the device with their argument that many people stopped for moving traffic offences offer false details initially – so the new device will help police detect who is telling the truth about their identity.
The database holds prints from people who have been convicted or who are involved in police investigations.