Speaking Friday at the inaugural Singapore meeting organized by the Biometrics Institute, David Chadwick, Unisys' director for law enforcement and public safety in the Asia-Pacific region, noted that police forces around the world were the first to adopt biometrics such as finger-printing but many are lagging in new technology adoption.The culture of law enforcement organizations varies widely around the world and even within individual countries. Some organizations are tech-savvy early adopters; some aren't. That's the "people" side.
On the tech side, I don't think "the absence of an 'open Web system'" is what is preventing faster law enforcement adoption of biometric ID management solutions. In my experience, law enforcement organizations are extremely wary of open web systems and for very good reasons.
While I disagree with Mr. Chadwick on that minor point, I think he's on to something with his poor usability critique.
The reason that the usability is poor is because the providers of the systems currently used in law enforcement don't really see the street cop as the customer. They go in at a much higher level and sell what are essentially information-gathering systems most useful to a centralized, specialized intelligence bureau.
Think old-school fingerprints. Street cops never did do fingerprint analysis, a bunch of highly-specialized green eye-shade types in West Virginia did that and sent reports back to the cop. Biometric systems currently deployed in law enforcement are a lot like a faster, more state-level version of the old (paper) national fingerprint system.
The companies that have been successful at selling these types of systems to law enforcement haven't had the reason or inclination to begin to view the street cop as a customer and to actually address their problems.
SecurLinx and some others are doing just that, though.