Northants Police officers to use stop and scan technology

The county's force is spending �1m on the new mobile phones which will allow officers to use digital technology while out on patrol
The county's force is spending �1m on the new mobile phones which will allow officers to use digital technology while out on patrol

Police officers on the beat in Northamptonshire will soon be able to stop and scan the fingerprints of suspected criminals.

The county’s force is spending £1m on the new mobile phones which will allow officers to use digital technology while out on patrol.

Using smartphones and a scanner, officers will be able to check whether the people they apprehend are wanted on criminal or immigration databases. They will also be able to use apps to share live information with the public.

The Home Office scheme has been trialled in West Yorkshire and is set to be rolled out to police forces across the country this year.

Northamptonshire will be one of the early adopters and police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold has hailed the technology as a device which will save huge amounts of police time and allow officers to spend more time patrolling the streets.

He said: “This is a modern phone that will enable officers straight out of the gate to do things that they would have had to go back to the police station for. It keeps them on patrol longer.

“We need to invest in people and technology so we can set the future for the next few years.”

The scan system works by connecting to two live databases under the new Biometric Services Gateway.

The smartphones will replace the blackberries currently being used by officers.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has said that £300,000 is coming from a multi-force transformation grant from the Home Office. The remaining £700,000 is being supplied by a capital programme for Northants which is budgeted for routinely as part of the general cycle of technology investments.

Northamptonshire Police is set to release more details later this week about the scheme and when it will become live.

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said: “The Biometric Services Gateway is just one of a series of national systems the Home Office is designing with policing to give officers information at their fingertips faster than ever before.

“By cutting out unnecessary trips to and from the police station, mobile technology is really helping to save valuable time and allowing officers to do what they do best – cutting crime and keeping us safe.

“It’s clear that by embracing technology the police can improve efficiency and, if all forces delivered the level of productivity from mobile working as the leading forces, the average officer could spend an hour a day extra on the frontline.”

Stop and scan has been criticised by liberty groups who say it should have been debated by MPs before being introduced.