Zimbabwe creating a criminal electronic fingerprint database

By Staff writer | 14 Nov 2018 at 15:19hrs
Finger print
The Zimbabwe government has acquired an electronic machine to profile individuals previously convicted and case awaiting trial using fingerprints. Repeat offenders have been taking advantage of the absence of a computerised database system to evade justice by giving false names in the court.

Criminals tend to provide false information to the police when arrested, for example, falsifying ages and names. It is believed that the procurement of the machine will go a long way in plugging that gap. The database will contain fingerprints gathered by the police when they take someone into custody.

The machine will be used to create a criminal digital fingerprint database along the lines of the FBI's IAFIS (The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System).

Criminal record checks in Zimbabwe will be legally required to be verified by using a set of digitally captured fingerprints.

In some jurisdictions, police officers use a mobile fingerprinting system that lets them check the identity of an unknown person in less than a minute. Officers only resort to fingerprint scanning if they cannot identify an individual by other means. The devices are used in cases where someone has no identifying information on them or appears to be giving police a fake name.

Anyone convicted of a serious crime may have their fingerprints stored on the database indefinitely. People who were not convicted but are arrested or charged in connection with a serious crime may also have their fingerprints stored on the database.

Although the system is mainly geared towards suspected criminals, it could also be used to identify someone who was unconscious and needed medical treatment.



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