West Yorkshire Police demonstrates UK-first biometrics technology

Northern England’s West Yorkshire Police has gone live with real-time, automated, mobile biometrics technology from Motorola Solutions. Following a recent demonstration, it will now roll out to 250 frontline police officers.

The application runs with Pronto, which delivers comprehensive and flexible mobile information solutions to police forces across the UK.

West Yorkshire Police is the first to implement the biometrics solution, which will allow officers to check fingerprints against national fingerprint database records in less than a minute. It does this via handheld scanners that attach to an officer’s phone, which then accesses a new Biometric Services Gateway system.

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West Yorkshire Police is the fourth largest police service in the country, serving approximately 2.2 million people in rural areas and large metropolitan districts such as Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield.

Until recently, identifying or collecting data from individuals involved costly outdated devices and paper-based processes.

This new system, developed in partnership between West Yorkshire Police and the Home Office, is available via the force’s existing mobile devices and allows access to the live database from the field to get results in real time.

This creates a seamless workflow by removing the need to travel between the field and office or station to process information. As officers are able to obtain the right information about suspects quickly, accuracy is also greatly improved.

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“Almost instantly after deployment we found how valuable rapid biometric identification can be,” said Ian Williams, Chief Inspector, Digital Policing lead for West Yorkshire Police.

“We have already been able to identify a seriously injured individual, enabling medical staff to quickly offer accurate treatment and contact the family. In another case, we’ve identified a disqualified driver, summonsed him to court and seized his vehicle on the scene – all without the need to travel to the station and practically disable an Armed Response Vehicle for hours.”

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“Biometrics is an exciting addition to the Pronto offering and demonstrates the type of advancements that will see the complete digital transformation of public safety agencies. West Yorkshire Police is at the forefront of this shift, along with the other 17 forces using Pronto to work more effectively and collaboratively,” said Phil Jefferson, vice president for Western Europe and North Africa, and country manager UK and Ireland at, Motorola Solutions.

The biometrics capability builds on the success that the force has already seen with Pronto, namely crime scene investigation applications – which was recognised at the Public Sector Paperless awards last year with a win in the “Process and Workflow – Project of the Year” category, for its use of digital technology to support all frontline policing.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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