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Report No. 87

Photographs.- A criminal prisoner may be photographed and measured at any time during imprisonment, either in prison dress or in any other dress suitable to his position in life. "Measurements" includes the taking of impressions of external filaments of the fingers and thumb of each hand with ink. An untried prisoner may be photographed or measured and his finger impressions taken while in prison by order of the Secretary of State or upon a written application by a police officer of not lower rank then a Superintendent. The application must be confirmed by a magistrate or (in the metropolitan area) by the Commissioner or an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

The application must set forth that, from the character of the offence with which the prisoner is charged or for other reasons, there are grounds for suspecting that the prisoner has been previously convicted or has been engaged in crime or that from any other cause12 his photograph and measurements are required for the purposes of justice13. There are provisions in England for the destruction or return of the photograph and measurements on acquittal etc. where the person concerned is an untried prisoner who has not been previously convicted of crime. The provisions also enable the prisoners' fingerprints to be compared with other prints in the possession of the prosecution.

Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 Back

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