Fingering criminals has never been sweeter

A mobile system that allows police to rapidly check the fingerprints of suspects against those of known criminals has been unveiled in the US.

The system, called Sweetfinger, scans, processes and transmits fingerprints to a central database from a small handheld computer.

Its developers, electronics giant Panasonic and mobile technology specialist Atsonic, claim Sweetfinger is the first portable fingerprinting system to work quickly and accurately enough for use by police in the field.

Scanning takes one tenth of a second to create a fingerprint image with a resolution of 500 dots per inch.

If a match occurs, the system sends back a digital photograph of the suspect, complete with criminal record and other details.