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04 June 2014

Innovation in biometric technology key in fighting transnational crime, says INTERPOL Chief

LYON, France – The evolution and expansion of biometric technology is key to combating all forms of transnational crime, law enforcement and private sector partners have heard at the 8th International Symposium on Fingerprints.

Organized by INTERPOL’s Fingerprint unit, the three-day meeting (4-6 June) brings together some 144 delegates from 63 countries to discuss the latest advances in biometrics and how law enforcement can benefit from new technologies to maximize the opportunities for identifying criminals and solving crimes.

Among the delegates attending the meeting is the Minister of Internal Affairs from Moldova, Dorin Recean, accompanied by the Head of NCB Moldova, Fredolin Lecari, who also met with INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble and other senior officials to examine ways Moldova can enhance its use of INTERPOL’s tools and services to turn back crime and better protect its citizens.

Opening the meeting, Secretary General Noble highlighted the significance of global collaboration via INTERPOL’s fingerprint and other biometric databases.

“In an interconnected world where people cross borders so easily, the need for police to cooperate across borders – especially in sharing fingerprint data – remains very high,” said the INTERPOL Chief.

“Biometric technology in criminal investigations has evolved greatly, but the need for sophisticated fingerprint recordkeeping and systematic comparisons of these records remains as strong as ever,” concluded Mr Noble. 

INTERPOL’s database of fingerprints currently contains more than 195,000 records related to active investigations from 178 countries, as well as an additional 8,400 crime scene marks. Law enforcement users searched the database more than 28,000 times last year, resulting in some 1,200 positive matches.

In one example, in 2013 INTERPOL issued a Red Notice – or international wanted persons alert – at the request of the UK for a man charged with murder. By checking his fingerprints against the database, INTERPOL found a match to fingerprints submitted by Canada for a man suspected of drug trafficking and illegal immigration, under a different name. The suspect was located and arrested in Kenya – all within just three days.

Just as comparing fingerprints can detect links between seemingly unrelated crimes, INTERPOL’s upcoming Turn Back Crime campaign highlights the connection between different types of crimes that on the surface might appear unrelated.

“Turn Back Crime is an all-encompassing endeavour, spreading awareness across the globe and involving all of society in the fight against crime, in both traditional and innovative ways,” stated the INTERPOL Chief.

In addition to educating society about the ways in which crime affects our daily lives and to assist the public in protecting themselves, the Turn Back Crime campaign also encourages a more collaborative role between law enforcement, the private sector and citizens in crime prevention.

In this respect, some 20 private sector companies are on hand at the fingerprints symposium to present the latest technological developments in the fields of fingerprints, facial recognition and other biometric solutions.

One such innovation presented during the meeting was Lumicyano ™, a glue-like product which allows crime scene technicians to develop fingerprints in a single step so they can be photographed and sent for comparison, without degrading the print or compromising any DNA present. By reducing the current two-step process using fumes and coloured powders, the product aims to help police lift fingerprints faster and at a lower cost.

Head of INTERPOL’s Fingerprint unit, Mark Branchflower encouraged greater collaboration between law enforcement and the private sector to develop innovative tools of mutual benefit that can assist in identifying fingerprints, faces and other biometric markers.