Surrey is one of the first detachments in B.C. to get a digital fingerprint scanner.

Fingerprint scans shorten time for criminal checks

Surrey is one of the first detachments in B.C. with the technology.

A new digital fingerprint scanner with the RCMP will greatly reduce the amount of time to receive a criminal record check, often required for volunteer work.

In April, Surrey RCMP became one of the first detachments in the province with the new scanner.

The Surrey RCMP processes more than 25,000 criminal record checks annually, with about one-third of those considered the “vulnerable sector” checks for people wanting to do work in health care, social work, day care, sports coaching or taxi driving.

“With the new system, fingerprints can now be analyzed in around eight to10 days, whereas it had previously taken months,” said Tim Matheson, Surrey RCMP client services manager.

“This technology enables us to provide a much faster turnaround time to the community, and will be a welcome service improvement, particularly for those seeking employment or volunteering opportunities.”

The new live scan electronic fingerprint machines also help to speed up the processing of pardon and immigration applications, name changes, security licences and police certificates.

Fingerprint services are currently available at the Surrey RCMP main detachment at 14355 57 Ave. (Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday).

The Surrey detachment has secured a second digital fingerprint scanner which will soon be installed at the Guildford-Fleetwood District Office. It is anticipated that the second machine will be available by fall.