JIS News

The Automated Palm and Fingerprint Identification System (APFIS) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is to be upgraded.
Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, today (September 3), signed a contract involving the Ministry and Sagem SA of France, for a US$990,000 (J$88 million) upgrade of the APFIS, at the Ministry of National Security in Kingston. The contract has a six-month implementation period.
The APFIS was put into operation in October 2006, and the Minister said the upgrade “will greatly improve the capability of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to use fingerprint identification technology in solving crimes in Jamaica.”
He added that the most important feature of the upgraded APFIS would be a much larger fingerprint database for the JCF, within which to search. The system is also expected to make it easier to provide police records on individuals. Additional equipment is also to be acquired and deployed strategically within the JCF, the Department of Correctional Services and at the Firearm Licensing Authority.
“There is no doubt that there will be cost benefits associated with this upgrade. There might even exist the possibility for the extension of the capabilities of this system in other areas presently under consideration,” Senator Nelson added.
The Minister said that as part of the upgrading of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) fingerprint identification system, the Ministry was looking at maintaining separate databases for the fingerprints of criminals and non-criminals.
The Minister pointed out that storing the fingerprint of someone who has not committed an offence could raise legal questions. “The person could challenge your retaining his or her fingerprint and he or she has not committed an offence, and the law does not prescribe for your retaining the fingerprint of someone who has not committed an offence,” he explained.
Senator Nelson divulged that the Government is currently looking to establish a legal framework under which such fingerprints could be retained.
Also speaking at today’s signing ceremony, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Les Green, noted that there are currently almost 300,000 fingerprints on the system and that there are over 400 cases linked to some of these fingerprints.
“It’s very important that we use this technology carefully. We invest in the crime scene activity, in relation to searching and retrieving forensic evidence, and this (upgrade) is very much an important aspect of that process,” he said.

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