Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

New identity check device issued

Mobile electronic fingerprint device (Pic: Greater Manchester Police)
Thirty five of the devices have been issued in Greater Manchester

Police officers in Greater Manchester have been issued with a new hand-held device that can establish a potential offender's identity within minutes.

The mobile electronic fingerprint device checks a person's details if they are already on the national fingerprint database.

The device is linked to the police national computer and is part of a national project.

Anyone stopped will have to voluntarily agree for the device to be used.

Thirty five of the hand-held devices will be given to officers across Greater Manchester.

The unit will allow officers to see if people are wanted for any other crime in the country and within minutes, their identity can be established so officers can decide on the spot if any further action is needed.

Asst Ch Con Dave Thompson said: "It can take hours to arrest someone and transfer them to a police station just to establish their identity, so the hand-held device will mean officers can spend more time on the streets and less time in custody suites, which is what the public want."

Greater Manchester Police cited one incident where a driver who was stopped in Crumpsall tried to give false information, but after a check on the system it was revealed he was wanted for attempted murder in the Midlands and was subsequently arrested.

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