Mobile fingerprint readers will be trialled by police in an attempt to help catch criminals who seek to evade capture by providing false details.

Police could take fingerprints by the side of the road as part of a new trial that has been launched in Devon.

A mobile fingerprint reader scheme has been rolled out by Devon and Cornwall Police.

The move, which is part of the National Home Office Biometrics programme, will allow officers to check the identity of suspects using fingerprints while they are out on patrol.

Using both national and local databases the fingerprint readers can confirm the identity of a suspect within 30 seconds and a positive result will allow access to further records held on both databases.

The force hopes the implementation will help officers to identify more criminals, avoid unnecessary detentions, work more efficiently and overall increase public safety.

Officers will only be able to use this device in compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, which governs the major part of police powers of investigation.

A pilot will shortly commence, and be used by several factions of Plymouth's police force.

A police spokesman said: "The introduction of equipment like the fingerprint readers has a profound effect on our front line officers.

"It helps them to identify suspects on the street, to reduce the demand as well securing them more time on the streets to keep the public safe.

"The trial also highlights the importance of innovation within Devon and Cornwall Police and the work going into keeping us as one of the best forces in the country.

"Feedback from the trial will determine how this tool is rolled out across the force area in the near future."