Abuja — Police authorities have explained that the new biometric registration processes of vehicles, tricycles and auto-bikes were part of new strategies to combat terrorism, prevent crimes, apprehend and prosecute offenders.
The explanation was made even as the Force disclosed that the new policy was backed by law under Section 3, Sub-Section 2 to Sub-section 6 of the Road Traffic Act, Cap 548.
Force Public Relations officer, CSP Frank Mba, had while throwing light on the new policy, noted that it was an upgrade and modernization from the old analogue CMR to the new Digital Biometric Central Motor Registration, BCMR, system.
Mba said: "The decision informing the introduction of the BCMR comes against the backdrop of contemporary security challenges bordering on terrorism, high incidence of car theft, kidnappings and other acts of crimes and criminality in our society.
"Unlike our hitherto analogue based procedures, the BCMR operates on smart-cards and portable hand-held receiver and is a specially developed technological means of attaching automobile owner's unique traits and personal data to their vehicles for proper identification and protection purposes."
"The Police BCMR are designed to be used for forensic analysis. Fingerprints can be matched or verified against registered finger prints collected during registration.
"It is designed to match 20 million fingerprints per seconds (the speed depends on the size of registered prints) 20 million fingerprints is equivalent to 2 million people (10 prints per person).
"Facial matching can also be achieved with Police BCMR; our database can be matched with steel pictures and frames from a video stream. The system can match 500,000 pictures per minute (if you have a registered database of 150 million, the likely match time for facial recognition is about 300 minutes (5hrs).
"As a huge store of information, the BCMR will provide a one-stop information data-base for all vehicle owners and serve as a strong forensic base for all manners of investigations which will greatly enhance policing operations.
"This will be done particularly in the area of tracking down and locating positions of missing vehicles, preventing crimes, arresting criminals guaranteeing safer and a more secure use of our roads and other sundry crimes.
On its features, Mba said, "The BCMR has three means of registration which could be either through designated Banks, on-line or at some Police Commands.
"In the case of the Banks, car owners pay the registration fees at the Banks, collect their pin numbers and proceed to the registration points for their registration - a process that does not take more than ten minutes.
"You can also pay on-line, get your registration pin, commence the pre-registration by yourself, filling the details of your vehicle and personal data but the registrant would still have to get a designated registration to complete the registration process where his bio-data, photo and fingerprints would be captured.
"In the Police Commands and other designated formations, registrants would purchase a scratch card which would give pins to be used for registration.
"Vehicle owners are expected to pay N3,500.00, while tricycles, popularly called "Keke Marwa" or "keke Napep" and auto-bikes go for N1, 500.00."
Asked if the new policy was not a violation of the directives by the Senate that the policy be discountenanced, he said the law empowering the Police as the body responsible for licensing had not been repealed, neither had the National Assembly said such.
On whether the police had suddenly become a revenue generating agency by virtue of its decision to collect N3,500. 00 and N1, 500. 00 respectively for the registration, he said the amount was only a token that will be used for maintenance of equipment and facilities, which would only subsidize the actual cost of equipment.