Caught red handed by latest police IT

James Rogers

Avon and Somerset Constabulary is employing the latest palmprint matching technology to catch criminals.

Developed with Cogent Systems and Informix, the Automated Palm and Fingerprint Identification System (Capfis) has already successfully identified 50 villains since the police force started using it in July.

Avon and Somerset is the first police force in England to use a dedicated palmprint matching system.

"Fingerprint recognition is well known, but, owing to classification issues, palmprint matching is not used to its full potential," explained Ken Hobbs, head of the fingerprint bureau at Avon and Somerset Constabulary. "When we looked at the figures and saw that 25% of cases hinge on palmprint evidence, we knew something had to be done."

Capfis works by using Cogent matching software to reorder an Informix database at the rate of 1,500 palmprints per second, before compiling a list of the most similar matches.

"On paper, the task of storing, classifying and identifying thousands of palmprints seems daunting, but, working alongside Cogent, we were able to get the system up and running in a very short space of time," said Andy Cooke, sales director at Informix.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary estimates that, by using Capfis, it will have identified 200 suspects by the middle of next year.

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