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Finger Print System

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Finger Print System

Post by Karen on Sun 5 Dec 2010 - 21:14




The value of the finger-print identification system was shown in a case at North London yesterday. Recently the system has been extended, and now at every station in the metropolitan police district an officer qualified to take impressions is stationed, every person charged with an indictable offence or under the Vagrant Act having to go through his hands. The impressions are sent to New Scotland Yard and photographed and classified. Within a few hours of an arrest it is known if the person has been previously convicted.
In the case before Mr. Hedderwick, a dock labourer, named Samuel Wickham, with no home, was charged with loitering at Queen's-road, Finsbury Park, supposed for the purpose of committing a felony.
At 3:30 in the morning Constable Watkins saw Wickham peering into areas and looking up at the windows. He was questioned, and his excuse was that he was looking for a young woman who was in service at one of the houses. He did not know her address, but it was somewhere near Finsbury Park.
"To look for a young woman in London at 3:30 in the morning is like looking for a needle in a load of hay," remarked the magistrate.
The constable added that Wickham had a screwdriver and three keys in his possession.
Detective-Sergeant Evans said that Wickham had given some addresses where he alleged that he had been employed, but he was not known at any of them or at the place where he said he had been living,
The magistrate was about to deal with Wickham as a suspected person when a telephone message was received from Scotland Yard intimating that Wickham's finger-prints taken that morning corresponded with those of a man who had undergone three years' penal servitude and against whom there were several other convictions.
Wickham said nothing to this.
The detective-sergeant said he was not prepared to prove the convictions then, but if they did relate to Wickham, then he came under the provisions of the Prevention of Crimes Act.
Mr. Hedderwick granted a remand so that the further charge under the Crimes Act could be preferred.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, August 29, 1915, Page 4

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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