After compiling a comprehensive database of known drug offenders in the city, the Mumbai Police’s Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) is now going a step further, using image-editing software to get alternative appearances for them in case they change their look. Fingerprints of such offenders are also being digitally stored.
In March 2013, officers at each of the five units of the (ANC) of the Mumbai Police began uploading mugshots and fingerprints of both hands of each accused arrested in drug cases. Since then, of the 3,065 arrests made, details of 3,022 have been digitised, officers said.
“There are instances when drug addicts who are arrested after a gap of several years have altered their features. With the database, all an officer has to do is to take a picture of the accused and send it to the server. The past criminal record will be sent to the officer’s cellphone in a few minutes. There is no cost incurred in setting up the database, we already have cameras and computers. The image-editing software that we use are also free,” said an ANC officer.
Sources in the ANC said the profile of each accused also includes a brief summary of his alleged crime, the sections that he or she was charged under and the signature of the arresting officer. The details are stored at a central server located at the headquarters of the ANC in Cuffe Parade.
At present, finding the criminal antecedents of an arrested accused is cumbersome and involves writing to several police stations.
“Several accused also try to mislead the police by giving false names, which will also be prevented. Even if an accused has undergone facial reconstruction surgery, his or her fingerprints will remain the same,” the officer added.