Beginning this fall, RCMP will no longer be accepting paper-based fingerprints for crime scene comparisons and criminal records updates. This means that Police Services across the country must migrate off the old process of inking and rolling fingers and palms onto paper for submission to the RCMP.
A new digital system, commonly called LiveScan is the new solution and is already in use globally. The device is a digital scanning surface that takes high resolution images of the subject’s fingers and palms, digitizes them and when combined with the person’s description information is then sent electronically to the RCMP for classification, comparison and ultimately used to confirm that the criminal convictions are applied to the right person’s identity.
We are now live with this new technology along with the dozens of fellow agencies (that include the OPP) that are members of OPTIC (an information technology sharing co-operative) and are using bulk buying power to keep the costs of this expensive technology as low as possible.
What does this mean to our clients (both those whom we fingerprint for criminal purposes and those who we fingerprint for background check and pardon applications)? It means no more dirty fingers! It also means a streamlined process that happens quickly and effortlessly with quality prints assured by the instant visual feedback provided by the computer system that operates the scanner. This is similar to the improvements in photography that followed the digital viewfinder which allows you to see the images you are about to and have taken in real-time. Faster turn-around times for submissions to the RCMP is anticipated since there will no longer be mail and courier delays and the digital-to-digital transfer can help the RCMP overcome the massive backlog they are currently experiencing.
Policing is ever-evolving and technology is continually challenging us to innovate and adopt new processes as we retire those that have been in use for a century or more.