KATHMANDU, July 10
Nepal Police has started maintaining Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), a digitised system for storing electronic image of fingerprints of all Nepali citizens, including those involved in crimes.
The AFIS is a biometric identification methodology that uses digital imaging technology to obtain, store and analyse fingerprint data. Though AFIS was originally used by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in criminal cases, it has now gained favour in combating crimes over many countries. A senior official said Nepal Police has already maintained computerised fingerprint images of more than 8,500 people.
“We have started digitising and storing Manual Criminal Fingerprint Slips in AFIS,” Additional Inspector General of Police Surendra Bahadur Shah informed.
He also said that if tens of thousands of manual fingerprints stored in national archive (for example, Election Commission and District Administration Offices) were to be digitised and maintained in the national database, it would be very fast and scientific in identifying subjects in criminal incidents and natural disasters.
Recently, justices and lawyers had suggested that Nepal Police make necessary arrangements for collecting and digitising fingerprints of people on the basis of citizenship certificates they acquire from District Administration Offices and create central database for identification of anyone who is involved in crimes and is convicted, while collecting DNA samples.
According to a data maintained by the Supreme Court, various tiers of courts are yet to recover more than eight billion rupees in fines from the convicts and execute over 100,000 years of jail terms handed down to them, thanks to the ‘poor criminal justice system and record-keeping of the convicts’ its nearly impossible to ascertain their identity and find their whereabouts.
AFIS helps crime investigators ensure accuracy of identified subjects. The process of comparing the fingerprints takes the computer only minutes to ascertain the identification of subjects. The database of AFIS is expected to help crime investigators ascertain the identity of crime suspects in a simple, easy, accurate, timely and scientific manner and enhance criminal justice system.
Police officials said databases of fingerprints allow police to make connections between criminals and crime scenes as they play a vital role in crime investigations. A person’s fingerprint is unique and does not change.
A version of this article appears in print on July 11, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.