The NAFIS enables law enforcement to upload and look for fingerprint data at an arresting point or from evidence collected at a crime scene in almost “real-time “. As a result, it is possible to locate a person of interest in a matter of minutes and connect that individual’s name to any active warrants, warnings, or information about related criminal conduct stored in other police information reference systems.
With its extensive reach, it has transformed policing and investigation, connecting police stations to even the most remote regions. Immediate crime reporting and information accessibility to all stakeholders are essential components of any successful law enforcement operation.
Madhya Pradesh became the first state in the nation to use NAFIS to identify a deceased individual.
Over 95% of the country’s 16,098 police stations use CCTNS software, and 97% have connectivity. Additionally, 93% of those stations enter all of their FIRs through the system. Rashtriya Raksha University and National Forensic Science University are two new institutions that have been established with the goal of advancing an impartial and scientific approach to the criminal justice system. In 32 State/UT prisons and 28 State/UT courts, CCTNS data is being electronically used.
A nationwide searchable database of crime- and criminal-related fingerprints is part of the NAFIS initiative. By combining fingerprint information from all states and Union Territories, this web-based service serves as a centralized information repository. It enables law enforcement agencies to upload, track, and retrieve data from the database in real-time on a round-the-clock basis, according to a 2020 report by the NCRB. Each person detained for a crime is given a distinct 10-digit National Fingerprint Number (NFN) by NAFIS. Throughout their lifespan, this one-of-a-kind ID will be used, and many offences reported under various FIRs will be connected to the same NFN.
Georg von Meissner (1829–1905), a German anatomist, researched friction ridges in 1853, and Sir William James Herschel pioneered fingerprinting in India in 1858. Before being introduced to Europe and other countries, a fingerprinting identification system initially appeared in colonial India. In the beginning, it was employed more for administrative than for criminal purposes by British colonial officials. In order to prevent fraud and forgeries and to make sure that the right person was signing mortgage bonds, property transfer deeds, and government pensions, William Herschel, the head administrator of the Hooghly district of Bengal, began using fingerprinting in the late-middle 1800s. The understanding of Indian crime by British officials in the 19th century was closely related to the expanding use of fingerprinting.
The NAFIS maintains
- Ten Print data: Images of a person’s palm and fingerprints, as well as the accompanying basic biographical data, are gathered from them by the police and immigration officials.
- Latent data: Impressions of fingers and palms found at crime scenes that have not yet been solved, which police can check.
Usage of Fingerprinting In India:
Johann Mayer, a German anatomist, made the first claim about the distinctiveness of each person’s fingerprints in Europe in 1788. The Scottish physician Henry Faulds later confirmed this claim through extensive research, around the same time that Herschel started using fingerprinting as a form of identification in Bengal. The ability to identify a single pair of fingerprints from a sizable collection of fingerprint cards needs a reliable classification scheme.
The Bengal Police were able to develop fingerprint records that replaced the use of anthropometric measurements by 1897, four years before a similar decision was made in England, despite similar attempts being made in England and elsewhere. At that time, the world’s first Fingerprint Bureau was established in Calcutta. For this job, Aziz-ul-Haq and H C Bose, two Indian sub-inspectors, were chosen by Bengal Police Inspector General Edward Henry.
The system of primary classification and the system for indexing names in court conviction registers were both created by Haq. Only in 1925 did Henry officially recognize the vital contributions made by Haq and Bose, for which the colonial government awarded them the titles of Khan Bahadur and Rai Bahadur, respectively.
Following the recommendations of the National Police Commission in 1986, the Central Fingerprint Bureau first started automating the fingerprint database by digitizing the pre-existing manual records using India’s first Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFI), known as the Fingerprint Analysis & Criminal Tracing System (FACTS 1.0), in 1992. According to a 2018 study by the NCRB, the most recent version, FACTS 5.0, which was revised in 2007, was deemed to have “outlived its shelf life” and needed to be replaced by NAFIS.
The digitization of records and fingerprint data is a significant step forward in recording and tracking crimes and criminals. By establishing a connection between a person of interest and forensic evidence, matching results have considerably increased police in capacity to solve large and minor crimes. Due to the precise identification of people, investigations take less time to complete, and effective prosecutions result. Countries may be able to lower their criminal activity if more such initiatives are undertaken.