The Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS), a Home Ministry sponsored project to be kicked off next year, will help the law enforcement agencies to identify criminals, missing people and unidentified bodies in a scientific and speedy manner, officials said on Thursday The AFRS, being implemented by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), is a component of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), a national database of crimes and criminals.
"This software will be used only in respect of such persons who figure on the CCTNS data base -- accused persons, prisoners, missing persons and unidentified found persons including children, and unidentified dead persons and is not going to be used on any other data base," a home ministry official said.
Just as fingerprint matching is used in investigation by the police by matching fingerprint found in crime scene with the fingerprint database, the AFRS will add another information layer to investigation by allowing matching photograph of suspect or missing person with the photo database of CCTNS. This is already done manually.
The date base can be accessed only by law enforcement agencies and citizens privacy will be fully protected, the official said.
The CCTNS connects police stations in the country on a national platform and maintains crime and criminal records.
It has a database of photographs of criminals, missing persons including missing children, unidentified found persons including unidentified found children besides unidentified dead bodies.
At present, there are about 7.71 lakh cases of missing persons reported in the CCTNS data base including 98,000 children.
The AFRS is a tool proposed to be deployed on the CCTNS data base and the missing children (Track Child) database. This will make the process of recovery of missing persons efficient, the official said.
With this tool, in case an unidentified child is recovered, the police can match the photo of child with the missing children data base for quick identification and restoration to their family.
Similar use is proposed for identification of missing persons to reunite them with their families and identification of unidentified dead bodies to enable dignified restoration of the dead body to their family, another official said.
In case a person is suspected or arrested for crime during investigation, his photo can also be matched over the CCTNS data base for previous criminal records. This will ensure that criminals and terrorists will no longer be able to hide behind fake identities.
Presently, police undertake manual search for matching photographs on CCTNS data base. As and when this tool gets deployed, an electronic search will be possible. This will help expedite reuniting missing persons with their families, as also expedite investigation, another official said.