Fingerprints and AFIS


Fingerprinting or dactyloscopy (derived from Greek daktylos meaning “finger” and skopein meaning “to examine”) is a well-known technique for identifying a person. The technique, which benefits from the fact that the papillary lines on hands and fingers are unique to each person, has been used for police purposes since the middle of the 19th century.

In Switzerland, the automated fingerprint identification system, AFIS, has been in use since 1984. AFIS allows the authorities to search for and compare fingerprints and traces secured at a crime scene (including traces from the ball of the thumbs and the side of the hands). A two or ten finger examination can be accomplished within a few minutes and enables the unequivocable identification of a person.


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Last modification 08.06.2020

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