For over a century, biometric systems have assisted law enforcement efforts. During the early twentieth century, law enforcement agencies gradually replaced Bertillon’s anthropometry system with fingerprint identification. By the mid-twentieth century, police used fingerprints to link arrestees with their criminal records and to identify suspects from latent fingerprints left at a crime scene. As biometric technology expands in law enforcement, the science of biometrics has been developing approaches that can be used to automatically and accurately identify individuals by personal characteristics including fingerprints, palm, vein, voice, face, iris and DNA.
To promote the electronic sharing of fingerprint data, the FBI initiated the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). IAFIS maintained a database of fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information for more than 47 million individuals. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies can access this national storehouse of data. Additionally, the FBI, National Institute of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security had been pursuing another biometric option: iris recognition technology. New Jersey-based Iridian Technologies, for instance, developed a system in which software digitally extracts the iris portion of an image of an eye. Iridian’s technology formed the basis of The Children’s Identification and Location Database Project, a nationwide network and registry that enables law enforcement agencies to identify missing children and adults with iris biometric recognition. Furthermore, police organizations outside the U.S, such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, have also been implementing real time fingerprint analysis. As an example, the Criminal Identification Specialist Branch of the New South Wales Police maintained an electronic system providing real-time processing of fingerprints. NSW Police introduced portable, handheld fingerprint scanners. The biometric systems enabled instant identity checks during routine traffic violations.
The rising concerns about domestic terrorism are considered as the key factors driving the biometric law market right now. Recently, governments prefer to spend their money on public safety measures and biometric technology offers many applications in this domain. Biometric technology is commonly used for security, user authentication, and access control; the market potential for mobile biometric identification technology will be also used by police patrols. One major driver of the market is the high demand for security. The Government sector, especially the law enforcement bodies, is in need of more secure and protected security measures. Faisal Ghaus, VP of TechNavio Research said “The rate of terrorist attacks and data thefts is increasing, increasing the need for high-level security. The rapidly growing Law Enforcement and Homeland Security sectors face a growing number of security threats. Factors such as these have increased the demand for biometrics in North America”.
Government security administrators’ appetite for this can already be seen elsewhere in the world; for example, India, which has its own serious security concerns, has just begun to issue digital citizenship cards with biometric applications. TechNavio’s analysts forecast the Law Enforcement Biometrics market in North America to see the growth at a CAGR of 18.2% during the period 2013-2018. Besides, the Law Enforcement Biometrics market in UK is also expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.1% over the period 2013-2018. In accordance with “Law Enforcement Biometrics Market in Germany 2014-2018” report by Research and Market, Germany market will increase at a CAGR of 17.6% over the period 2013-2018. Despite the United States and European countries dominating this market, Asia Pacific is expected to offer considerable growth opportunities for government biometrics in the future. Within Asia Pacific, countries such as India, China, Indonesia, and Thailand are expected to be key areas of demand, especially in border control and national ID. Police databases across the region are currently being installed or upgraded to ensure smoother operational efficiency in criminal investigations. Biometrics-based applications have been adopted by Australia Federal Police, Vietnam Police, and the Hong Kong Police Force.
In the future, the biometric system may potentially assist investigators in quickly examining suspects who found at flights or the scene of a crime. Biometric technology holds potential value for law enforcement agencies, including the facilitation of quick and valid identifications when personal information is lacking or suspicious. The potential of biometrics for law enforcement has been indicated though its range of applications appears extensive and promising. The biometric systems are considered as effective complement tools for law enforcement.