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UK Police to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners

But fears have arisen the technology could contribute to the so-called "surveillance state" and encourage random searches. Police said scanned fingerprints would only be stored for a short time while they were checked and would not be added to any databases. The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) said the contract was worth £9 million over three years. A limited trial of 330 mobile fingerprint devices, in which heavier machines were carried by motorway patrols, started in 2006 and eventually involved 28 forces. The pilot, known as Operation Lantern, showed officers saved at least 30 minutes every time they used a machine. The technology was also used to identify murder victims and people left unconscious or incapable as a result of road crashes. The device works by electronically scanning the subject\'s index fingers. The results are then encrypted and sent to a central database.

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