Investigations into thousands of crimes have been hampered by a serious crash in the police computer system for checking fingerprints.

All 43 forces in England and Wales were affected by the shutdown, which meant officers could not check the fingerprints of suspects.
The collapse of the national automated fingerprint identification system (Nafis) is the latest embarrassing computer failure to affect a public body and will raise fresh questions over the Government's plans for a national identity card system, which will include "biometric" details such as fingerprints.

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