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Home Department written question – answered on 11th December 2006.

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Photo of David Jones David Jones Shadow Minister (Wales)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what protocols his Department is putting in place to ensure that fingerprints taken at roadside tests are permanently deleted from police computer systems.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State, Home Office

The Lantern device has been configured to hold a maximum of 100 sets of fingerprints. This works on a rolling 100 basis so that if a 101st set of prints is taken then the first set would be deleted. In addition, officers have been provided with a button that allows then to delete all prints from the device and they are being trained to use that function at the start and end of their shift. Prints can also be deleted with the subject watching at the end of the encounter. The Lantern device is a tool to aid officers in identifying individuals at the roadside and hence to assist them in deciding how to proceed. Once the encounter has been concluded there is no reason to retain the prints further. No demographic data (i.e. name, date of birth etc.) is input into the Lantern device, so no purpose can be achieved by storing them. Fingerprints taken at the roadside can be deleted with the subject watching. In any event, the device database is purged at regular intervals during the operating day. Fingerprints obtained at the roadside, are not collected with any identifying demographic data, and therefore remain anonymous, so no purpose can be achieved by storing them.

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