Biometrics could be viable

Having worked in forensics and as a criminal/insurgent forensic profiler for the military in a combat zone (and being a previous member of the RCIPS), I can honestly attest to the importance of having a reliable electronic biometric database. While one may argue that creating this database may violate a persons civil liberties, another might say that the database would aide in the reduction false accusations creating more liberty.

If the Cayman Islands is going to create this database, it needs to be done at all vetting sites for ALL residents on the Island, not just one subset.

The benefits of an active biometric database, do not include the reduction of crime. It does include a higher solved criminal case rate based on biometric evidence. The biometric system, would aide the RCIPS if they had the capabilities to maintain such a project.

The downside to this system is that is will be expensive to implement, both in regards of equipment and training. This is important as use of the system with unsatisfactory training will result in poor latent prints, convoluted minutia points and possibly false accusations and convictions.

It will also dwell on liberty violations because a person going to renew their license or permit could create a positive match; this would be unacceptable. Collection points must have the sole purpose of feeding the overarching biometric database. Then the RCIPS would have the responsibility of deciphering possible matches based on their case load.

As with the use of the Automated Biometric Identification System and the Integrated Automatic Fingerprint Identification System, the systems create a positive match based on successive matching of minutia points. Then two trained persons have to independently verify the match before it can be used as evidence.

This is a long expensive road to be on… But if the Cayman Islands is going to do it, it needs to do it correctly. The Forensic Unit that works with this biometric data should be independent of the RCIPS.

When I was working to implement the biometric data system in Afghanistan, we used two different approaches, offensive and defensive.

The defensive approach involves static positions and vetting sites. It is a slow and long process in dataset production. In the case of Cayman, it would be subject to application rates for IDs, visas and permits. So, if the Cayman Islands drivers license is valid for five years and the driving population (being people older than 17) is around 80 per cent plus or minus, it would potentially take five years to obtain an around 80 per cent.

The offensive application would be collected by the police and immigration during arrests and in support of investigations. This would be the fastest to accrue specific demographic; however, it is not a significant representation of the entire population.

Again, I have worked with biometric and forensic profiling for some years now. Biometrics are a great tool; however, you have to account for criminal adaptation.

Running a system like this requires specific training and certifications, not just some one week course will suffice. That has to be taken into consideration as well.

While I am in full support of this system. It will be expensive, and with the current financial situation of the Government, it might not be feasible.

Christopher Rice

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