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Mobile Fingerprint Technology (1114A/23)


This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act for information regarding your force’s use of mobile fingerprint technology. Please provide the following information about your force’s use of mobile biometric technology for the periods between 1st January 2022 and today’s date; if you do not hold this information for the whole length of the period stated above, please provide it for the period starting from the date you began recording the information:

  1. The number of times the mobile biometrics devices were used.
  2. The following information about each search:
    a) which database was searched (Police [IDENT1] or Immigration [IABS]) or both),
    b) date
    c) reason for fingerprinting
    d) officer defined ethnicity
    e) self-defined ethnicity
    f) gender of the person scanned
    g) age of person scanned
    h) response (i.e., whether the search returned a record. If so, please specify which database the record was returned from)
  3. How many times was Command & Control contacted following a search.
  4. What were the nationalities of those people arrested during these scans for a suspected immigration enforcement offence between 1st January 2022 until today’s date.
  5. How many people were arrested during these scans for:
  6. a) a suspected Immigration Enforcement offence?
  7. b) a criminal offence?
  8. If your force does not currently use mobile biometric scanners, please state if there are plans to adopt the use of the devices, and if yes on what date.


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. In relation to questions 3 – 5, this information is not held in a centrally collated format, that is, whether Command & Control was contacted and/or whether an arrest was made would be recorded separately. This means that in order to identify this information we would need to review the case details of each individual search and then cross reference these details with different departments and databases. During the requested time period we have used these devices nearly 5,000 times. Therefore, due to the high volume of cases, to conduct these separate manual enquiries would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

This means that the cost of providing you with the information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice for this part of the request and if one part of a request exceeds the fees limit then S12 of the Act applies to the whole request.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:

However, in accordance with Section 16 of the Act I have a duty to provide advice and assistance in relation to your request and can provide answers to questions 1 & 2 as this was retrieved during our initial research. Please find this information attached (1114A_Attachment).

This should not be taken as a precedent that additional information would be supplied outside of the time/fees legislation for any subsequent requests.