UK police forces are to create a national database of palm prints as part of a £150m upgrade of identification systems.
The Police IT Organisation (Pito) is considering developments to the current National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (Nafis) used by all police forces in England and Wales, which carries prints of convicted criminals and crime scene forensic data.
A Pito spokesman told vnunet.com that the procurement notice "refers to the replacement of the current Nafis service and other capabilities like palm print searching".
Police forces currently take palm prints but their use is limited, so a national database would be a big leap forward.
"The national palm print searching capability will allow forces to unlock greater identification potential," said the spokesman.
"The storage capacity needed for a national palms database, significantly greater than Nafis, is one of the reasons why this has not been done before now."
Pito has issued a pre-information notice estimating that the work could cost up to £150m, although the group stressed that the plan is at an early stage and that the final cost could be different.
The organisation is looking for "identification services to law enforcement agencies within the UK including systems development, integration of legacy equipment and systems, and installation".
Pito is working on the specifications of such a system, but the final approach will not be clear until the contract re-tender after 2004.
It would not give a date for when the national palm searching capability will be ready.
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