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STOP THE SCAN: Police use of mobile fingerprinting technology for immigration enforcement

In June 2021, The Racial Justice Network and Yorkshire Resists in conjunction with Queen Mary University of London released  a new report written to draw attention to the national use of the Biometric Services Gateway (mobile fingerprinting) by police forces. The report discusses issues that arose from new data obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the period of March 2019 to June 2020 to all police forces in the UK.

Mobile biometric devices are handheld fingerprint scanners that police officers can use to check, on the spot, a person’s identity by matching the image of the fingerprint taken against the IDENT1 criminal record database and the Home Office IABS database without taking the individual into custody. The scanners can be connected to any mobile phone or tablet that also runs the corresponding app which allows the biometric databases to be searched.

After listening to concerns coming from the communities we work with, and conducting a report on the local use of the devices, the Racial Justice Network and Yorkshire Resist sought to further understand how the devices were being used across the U.K. felt a report was needed to draw further attention to the unethical and targeted use of mobile fingerprint scanners. Highlighted in this report, due diligence, ethical procedures, and impact assessment were not adequately conducted by the police. As well as the systematic racial bias used to target and scan racially minoritised communities.

The report is available at Please read and share within your networks.

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