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Police Want to Get Hands on Fingerprint Registry

Police want access to a registry of fingerprints taken during the passport application process. Police say the registry would help them solve crimes. Within ten years, every person who applies for a passport in Finland will have their prints in the registry.

Over the past year, nearly half a million people in Finland have been fingerprinted for the national passport registry. This is due to an EU mandate that calls on passport applicants to provide biometric information to authenticate their identity.

Now police want to be given access to the fingerprint registry to help in criminal investigations.

"Police think the registry could be used to help solve crimes like homicides, violent sexual assaults and drug crimes,” says National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero.

Currently police can only use the registry to try to help determine the identity of a deceased person, and only if other means are not available.

Getting access to the registry requires a change in the law – something lawmakers seem reluctant to do. However, Paatero says he hopes that the next session of Parliament will take up the issue.

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