Police departments are well-known for thinking up innovative ways of using technology to help solve and prove various crimes occurred, but this newest arrest in the United Kingdom used technology in a mind-boggling and almost unbelievable manner.
According to the South Wales Police in the United Kingdom, their department was investigating drug dealers when they came across photographic evidence on a suspect’s mobile device. The picture was of an unidentified person’s hand, palm-up, holding a number of ecstasy pills. Incredibly, police utilized the photograph to extract the person’s fingerprints. They inserted the fingerprints into a national database and discovered a potential match and suspect.
Authorities arrested three different members of a drug ring family using this photographic evidence. The original photo had been sent via the messaging service WhatsApp. Once they had the main suspect in custody, police were able to fully match the fingerprint of the dealer with the data extracted from the photograph on WhatsApp.
This isn’t the first time that biometric data has been extracted from high-resolution photographs, but it is the first time that such data has been used to make an arrest in the United Kingdom. This same type of technology was used in the United States to capture a sexual predator in 2015 and in Australia this year.
Dave Thomas, one officer involved in this recent case, explains that his department has since been flooded with a number of other open investigations from police departments around the globe hoping to utilize similar techniques to capture criminals.