A biometric system used by the Mumbai Police, which has helped it crack 85 open cases of theft and break-ins and make 120 arrests during its one-year testing period, was formally launched by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday.
The Automated Multi-modal Biometric Identification System (AMBIS) comprises a computer terminal, a camera to take pictures of those arrested and scanners to record irises, fingerprints and palms. On Monday, the system was made operational at every police station in Mumbai.
Until now, the Mumbai Police has stored 6.5 lakh fingerprints of criminals dating from the 1950s onwards. Mumbai Police sources said over 10,000 of these comprise fingerprints gathered from crime scenes, while another 20,000-30,000 are those of absconders. “After ingesting the data into our systems, we started to analyse it and look for patterns,” said a police officer.
Cross-referencing fingerprints recorded on paper with those recently recorded on AMBIS, the police has been able to identify suspects in 85 cases of theft and break-ins.
“These are all criminals with a prior history of committing such offences. Their role in crimes dating from 2014 onwards only came to light after their biometric data was digitised,” said the officer.
In the year leading to Monday’s launch, 2,600 constables and 250 officers chosen from each police station in the city were trained to operate the system. “The data will now be stored permanently and allow us to share details of offenders with other national and international law enforcement agencies,” said the officer.
In Mumbai, AMBIS has also been linked to the CCTV system to identify faces of suspects and offenders, and with the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS) — a digital tool to aid investigations and the detection of crime.
The state home department is in the process of launching AMBIS in all other cities and police districts in Maharashtra. “Maharashtra is the first state to use the AMBIS system in India. With the help of various technological interventions, we have increased the conviction rate. I am sure AMBIS will be like Google for our forces in future,” said Fadnavis at the launch.