January 30, 2007 9:06 AM PST

U.K. cops to roll out footprint database

Crime scene investigation techniques are taking new strides, it seems, with the launch of a U.K.-wide footwear database designed to help cops track down criminals.

Scheduled to launch next month and roll out across the country beginning in March, the database will store imprints of thousands of types of shoes, as well as prints from suspects' footwear and footprints left at crime scenes.

The database has been developed by the Forensic Science Service and will automatically search for matches between shoe prints and crimes, in much the same way as the United Kingdom's DNA database cross-references DNA samples from those who have been arrested to samples linked to crimes.

The database is set to be able to record footprints left on a variety of surfaces, including in carpets, to help track down perpetrators, according to the Forensic Science Service.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.

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