The Stop and Scan Process

1. An Offence - Officer’s discretion as to what constitutes an offence, littering or traffic offences count. 

2. Scan - Officer judges whether the person is 'who they say they are' based on looking at them

3. Search - Officer can search the criminal database and/or the Home Office database

4. Home Office Flag - A flag is returned if there is any activity associated with the person, eg if they have a visa

5. Call Home Office - If a flag is returned, the officer must call Home Office Command and Control

6. Detention - Home Office enforcement may then put the person in indefinite detention, or deport them.

View this process diagram as a pdf instead.

Our Questions for police implementing mobile fingerprint scanning:

  • What controls are in place to guard against racial profiling?
  • What was the racial demographic of those stopped in the pilot?
  • What types of offences have merited a stop, with what frequency?
  • If the officer deemed an offence to have taken place amid a group, how many people from each group were asked for ID and scanned?
  • How will police contain the risk of innocent citizens having fingerprints taken? What level of offence merits such an invasion of citizen privacy and potential consequences?
  • How can an officer make this judgement call without racial profiling and/or transphobia?
  • What audit trail is left of the stop and scan on the database?
  • What traces persist from scans on the national criminal and Home Office databases?
  • How can scanning prints in the field be justified when the person isn’t under arrest?
  • What % of search results actually indicates something meaningful about the person’s status?
  • How many people who are not deemed ‘foreign national offenders’ but who have Home Office database flags have been reported? In what circumstances would they not be reported?
  • How can a database with independently-judged data flaws be used for border control purposes?
  • How many people have been detained or deported as a result of this process?
  • What was the racial demographic of these people?
  • What were the offences that led to their incarceration or removal?
  • How are people from Black, Brown and migrant communities meant to access police help for matters like domestic violence when they know there’s a risk this could happen to them? What does that mean for their vulnerability to harm?
  • How well do police understand the holistic impact of this new measure on their communities?