Biometric data of criminals: AMBIS tools gather dust in city police stations
By Dheeraj Fartode
As the world adopts advanced technical gadgets to hone investigative skills, Nagpur city police are slow to prepare for new age ideas. Biometric scanners, including palm and iris recognition scanners, provided to aid the force in investigations are yet to be deployed. As a result, these digital tools gather dust in police stations.
The tools are part of the Maharashtra Police’s Automated Multimodal Biometric Identification System (AMBIS), equipped with biometric data of 6.5 lakh criminals accessible with just one click.
Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Crime (HQRs) Assistant Inspector General of Police Sudhir Hiremath informed ‘The Hitavada’ that
Police units from Mumbai, Thane City, Navi Mumbai, Pune City, Nagpur City, Nashik City, Aurangabad City and Latur District have been selected to the implementation of the project on a pilot basis. “Police must store fingerprints, irises and photographs of criminals using the system. The stored information has enormous potential to identify criminals and this first lead is the most crucial in investigating offences,” he said.
A fact check at various police stations in the city revealed that the devices are not in use by Nagpur police and the men on the ground said they had not yet received instructions from their superiors on the use of the system. Failure to use expensive devices is nothing but a waste of public money.
A police officer from Nagpur Police said the officers trained in the system have also been transferred to various other posts. Therefore, it is going to be difficult to manage the system if the instructions are relayed now to deploy the instruments. Instead of using the digital palm scanner, police officers still use century-old hand scanners, it has come to the fore.
The AMBIS includes a computer with special software, a handheld palm scanner, a biometric iris recognition scanner, and a camera to capture fingerprints from crime scenes. The State Cyber Department had selected a French company through tender to provide both hardware and software for the project and the total cost of the project is around Rs 55 crore. The use of the latest machines was part of the modernization of the force, but the force is not yet ready for transformation.
Scanning fingerprints of 6.50 lakh criminals
Prior to deploying AMBIS, State CID digitized fingerprint data of more than 6.50 lakh paper-registered criminals from 1950. The system was previously used in a few police stations in Mumbai on a pilot basis . AMBIS, however, is not part of the Criminal and Criminal Network Tracking System (CCTNS). Instead, it uses the CCTNS network infrastructure and has a separate server. Investigators can walk around the crime scene with live mobile scanners and check if suspects involved in the crime have criminal records by scanning fingerprints at the crime scene itself. If the new data doesn’t match old data stored in the system, cops can conclude the criminal is a relative newcomer, a police official said.