Barcodes are essential in the retail and manufacturing industries. A barcode not only provides a steam-lined and automated process for overseeing stock, in the modern world it will provide a fast and effective process at checkouts. So it was with interest I read this week how barcodes were now being used in the criminal systems in the UK.
Barcodes can streamline administration
Following last weeks article concerning Barcodes on Menu’s it wasn’t a case of shaking my head in disbelief, it was more of a case of thinking “Why haven’t they thought of this before?”
First of all, let’s get one thing straight: this isn’t about barcodes being used to catch criminals. We’re not talking Starsky and Hutch here. (Although the way barcode technology seems to being used in all imaginable industry’s well…you never know.) Barcodes in this sense are being used in the more sedatory side of police work (certainly no less important) – the administration department.
Reducing human error
There has been issues in the US police departments keeping a track of criminal cases. When cases are not tracked correctly mistakes happen putting peoples lives, and the safe running of the judicial system at risk. Officials at Lancaster Pennsylvania have developed a new barcode system called the BEAST which could reduce human errors to a minimum, and streamline the whole system of tracking criminal cases from start to finish.
Easy transfer between departments and states
BEAST or Barcode Analysis Statistical Tracking will allow departments to assign a barcode to evidence, allowing it to be easily tracked as it moves through the legal system. In addition, since many neighbouring departments already use the BEAST system, it would allow for an easy transfer of evidence. If used nationally the same principle would work with transfer between states.
Indeed, while new to Pennsylvania, this new system has in fact been running for some time in Tucson Arizona and has recently been integrated with another database system called RMS. There will be issues while workers get used to working with the two different systems but the prospect of the benefits are clear enough.
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