Under 5s fingerprinted in asylum initiative

Children under five-years-old are having their fingerprints taken as part of a Home Office trial at asylum screening centres at Liverpool and Croydon.

Jun 2, 2006
By David Howell
Detective Chief Superintendent Jon McAdam

Children under five-years-old are having their fingerprints taken as part of a Home Office trial at asylum screening centres at Liverpool and Croydon.

The initiative has been set up in a bid to tackle false applications by some asylum seekers, and makes the UK one of the first countries to fingerprint very young children.

In the past it was considered that the fingerprints from children were too unreliable, but advances in the algorithms that interpret fingerprint patterns have meant that children’s fingerprints can now be collected reliably.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Fingerprinting is an established biometric technology that is known to work with very young children and for which there is already an established legal framework.”

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