Hi-tech with arms,cops still follow old fingerprint manual

Amid the sophisticated weaponry and transportation and surveillance equipment that the Mumbai Police has acquired in its post-26/11 upgrade,a basic aspect of policing has been grossly ignored — fingerprint matching.

Written by Sagnik Chowdhury | Mumbai | Published: July 19, 2010 3:54:23 am

Police : After digital drive crashed,fingerprints being matched manually

Amid the sophisticated weaponry and transportation and surveillance equipment that the Mumbai Police has acquired in its post-26/11 upgrade,a basic aspect of policing has been grossly ignored — fingerprint matching.

Till date,the police have no digital database of fingerprints,and still relies on the outdated method of manually matching fingerprints with millions of prints stored on paper.

Police sources said they had tied up with CMC Ltd two years ago and had adopted an advanced system called FACTS,or fingerprint analysis and criminal tracing system,which used a high-speed and high-accuracy algorithm to extract and match fingerprint features. However,they said,the system developed glitches and the police abandoned it and went back to the old method.

“It is true that we don’t have a digital database of fingerprints now. We had a system in place but owing to the sheer volume of fingerprints that were fed into the server,it crashed. The storage capacity was increased,only to crash later because of the millions of fingerprints being fed in. At present,the fingerprints are matched manually,” confirmed Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Dayal.

CMC Ltd chose not to speak on the system. An executive with the company said its contract with the police had ended two years ago,but added this needed to be verified.

With no digital referencing system,the police’s fingerprint experts use manual procedures involving archival of massive volumes of deteriorating paper-slips. Such a method takes many hours,even days,to find a match.

Dayal,however,said,“It is not impossible. It is a tedious process that takes much longer. But prints can be matched on the basis of certain classification markers on the prints that can be identified and searched for accordingly.”

He added,“The only way to rectify the problem and get back to a digital system of matching fingerprints would be to choose and restrict the number of fingerprints that are fed into the system in the first place,based on the source they are taken from.”

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