The scanners are satellite linked to the national fingerprint database and will instantly alert officers if the scanned prints belong to a convicted criminal. Officers will then be able to cross reference the information against the Police National Computer to find out if the person is wanted by the police or courts.
It is incredibly important that police officers using this technology have reasonable suspicion that an individual has committed a crime before they are stopped. This appears to be an extension of stop and search powers already held by police officers and it is a cause for concern that this could lead to an increase in innocent individuals being stopped by police.
There is little difference between the use of this mobile technology and the use of ID cards. The latter proved to be so unpopular with the general public that the Coalition Government scrapped the plans. Only time will tell whether the same fate awaits the mobile fingerprint scanners.