Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

What is National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NAFIS

Mains level : Not Much

The Union Home Minister has inaugurated the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS).

What is NAFIS?

  • NAFIS is developed by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) at the Central Fingerprint Bureau (CFPB) in New Delhi.
  • The project is a country-wide searchable database of crime- and criminal-related fingerprints.
  • The web-based application functions as a central information repository by consolidating fingerprint data from all states and Union Territories.
  • In April this year, Madhya Pradesh became the first state in the country to identify a deceased person through NAFIS.

Utility of NAFIS

  • It enables law enforcement agencies to upload, trace, and retrieve data from the database in real time on a 24×7 basis.
  • It would help in the quick and easy disposal of cases with the help of a centralised fingerprint database.

How does it work?

  • NAFIS assigns a unique 10-digit National Fingerprint Number (NFN) to each person arrested for a crime.
  • This unique ID will be used for the person’s lifetime, and different crimes registered under different FIRs will be linked to the same NFN.
  • The 2020 report states that the ID’s first two digits will be that of the state code in which the person arrested for a crime is registered, followed by a sequence number.
  • By automating the collection, storage, and matching of fingerprints, along with digitizing the records of fingerprint data, NAFIS will provide the much-needed unique identifier for every arrested person.
  • It will be included in the CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems) database as both are connected at the backend.

Is this the first time that such an automation project is being attempted?

  • Upon the recommendations of the National Police Commission in 1986, the Central Fingerprint Bureau first began to automate the fingerprint database.
  • It began with digitizing the existing manual records through India’s first Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFI) in 1992, called Fingerprint Analysis & Criminal Tracing System (FACTS 1.0).
  • The latest iteration, FACTS 5.0, which was upgraded in 2007, was considered to have “outlived its shelf life”, according to a 2018 report by the NCRB and thus needed to be replaced by NAFIS.

Since when has India relied on fingerprinting as a crime-fighting tool?

  • A system of fingerprinting identification first emerged in colonial India, where it was tested before it spread to Europe and beyond.
  • At first, it was used by British colonial officials for administrative rather than criminal purposes.
  • William Herschel, the chief administrator of the Hooghly district of Bengal, from the late-middle 1800s onwards, used fingerprinting to reduce fraud and forgeries.
  • It then aimed to ensure that the correct person was receiving government pensions, signing land transfer deeds, and mortgage bonds.
  • Anthropometry, the measurement of physical features of the body, was used by officials in India but was soon replaced with a system of fingerprints.

 

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