A Drug dealer from Bridgend, Wales has been arrested after being identified by police from his fingerprints.
South Wales Police has been using new techniques to secure 11 convictions so far based on photographs from fingerprints.
The picture came from a mobile phone taken during the raid (so the end-to-end encryption was a non-issue), including a message marked “Drugs for Sale”. It included a photo of the merchandise being held in someone’s hand – fingerprints clearly visible.
It included sent messages with questions like “what do you want to buy” along with photo illustrations.
Dave Thomas from SWP’s Scientific Investigation Unit called the collar ‘groundbreaking’ and explained to Auntie Beeb: “Ultimately, beyond everything else, we took a phone and looked at everything on it – we knew it had a hand with drugs on it.
“These guys [the dealers] are using the technology not to get caught and we need to keep up with advancements.”
Large quantities of a strain of cannabis called “Gorilla Glue” (so called because it leaves you glued to the sofa, apparently) were found with the phone, but it was the fingerprint-sales-patter combo that clinched the conviction.
“We want to be in a position where there is a burglary at 20:30, we can scan evidence and by 20:45 be waiting at the offender’s front door and arrest them arriving home with the swag,” added Mr Thomas
“That will work through remote transmission – scanning evidence at the scene and sending it back quickly for a match.
“It’s the future. We are not there yet but it could significantly enhance the ability of the local bobbies to arrest people very quickly.”
The conviction has ‘opened floodgates’ in South Wales and the joint taskforce set up between South Wales Police and Gwent Police has been inundated with photos from officers trying to crack a tough nut.
The result is made even more impressive as only parts of the fingerprint were visible. Although there is a comprehensive database of fingerprints for the UK, it only stores the tips of prints, rather than the side and bottom that were in the photo.