When a person has been arrested, they must be positively identified under the Identification of Criminals Act. This includes fingerprinting and photographs as well as documenting any tattoos, birthmarks, scars, missing fingers or limbs, missing or broken teeth, height, hair colour, body type, sex, apparent and actual race, and any other distinguishing features.
When you are fingerprinted with our Service, you are given a fingerprint number for filing into our internal database. When you are added into the federal database, you are given a federal number; an FPS Number (Fingerprint System Number).
When we "run" people, one of the first indicators which we look for is if they have "numbers". If they have numbers it means they've been arrested. If they have numbers on our city database, it means they have a picture on file.
Most of the people we deal with have no ID. They also love to lie to us especially when they have conditions they are breaching or warrants they are evading arrest for. It has become accepted by the courts to identify a person by way of their photograph on our system.
Many a time have I spent finding someone's photo on the system by detail searching tattoos or scars, even height, weight and address. When I have to resort to that, ten to one, a little red icon pops up next to the person's real name indicating a warrant. If there's no warrant, I know that they're breaching court ordered conditions such as a curfew or not to consume intoxicants. Then we take their birthdate and legal name off of our system, run it on the federal system; CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre). Bingo, up pop the conditions of release and previous convictions.
When a person lies about their name, I usually give them a couple of opportunities to come clean, making sure that they understand that if I have to take them for fingerprinting just to ID them that they're gonna be dealing with a hell of a grumpy cop. If they persist in lying, there are two criminal charges to be decided between: Personation With Intent to Gain Advantage (if the person they are claiming to be is a real person, whether living or dead), or Public Mischief; Cause Someone Else to be Suspected (If the person they are claiming to be does not exist).
Not every time, but almost every time, you can tell when someone is lying almost immediately. They fidget and think too hard. They take longer to answer simple questions and they change their answers to the same question asked two different ways. You can also get a gut feeling over whether or not someone should have numbers and then question why the person with face tattoos that say "West Side", "OG" (original gangster), or "Thug Life 4 Eva" doesn't have a picture on the system.
Other dead give-away tattoos I have seen that make it very hard to lie about who you really are:
- Tear drop tattoos
- FPS number tattooed on the neck or anywhere else (this makes things very easy when we get a surveillance camera still of a robbery or something similar)
- Anything written in cursive on your neck or face
- Dollar signs
- The word "Gangster" anywhere on your body
- Anything that is clearly done in faded ballpoint pen ink, designating it as "prison ink"
- Any number of gang abbreviations or initials
- Profanities tattooed anywhere
- Your own name tattooed on yourself