Criminals are going to face some interesting times. The recent South Wales Police arrest stands proof, as authorities apprehended a drug dealer by identifying his fingerprints from a photo shared on Whatsapp.
According to BBC, this case could very well be the first conviction where fingerprints taken from a photograph are compelling evidence.
What happened? After arresting a suspect and searching his phone, the South Wales Police obtained a photo showing the man holding ecstasy tablets in his palm. The fingertips could be zoomed in to see the fingerprints clearly.
This proved useless at first, as the UK national database of fingerprints only stores the top of a fingerprint and the photo in question only had the bottom of it. However, after gathering more evidence, police officers were able to match the fingerprint with the suspect, which lead to 11 convictions.
“While the scale and quality of the photograph proved a challenge, the small bits were enough to prove he was the dealer. It has now opened the floodgates and when there is part of a hand on a photograph, officers are sending them in,” said Dave Thomas, one of the officers.
He proceeded to issue a warning for those criminals who use mobile phones to organize their attacks:
“We can download and enhance (footage). These are all advancements in the digital world – they provide lots of questions we need to provide answers for.
[…] It’s the future. We are not there yet but it could significantly enhance the ability of the local bobbies to arrest people very quickly.”
Meanwhile, in China, police officers have been using advanced sunglasses with embedded facial recognition tech to identify suspects and arrest them on the spot, while India wants to rely on big data to prevent crime. The future is here indeed.