Derbyshire police are set to swap their paper fingerprint system for a digital version.
Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire police are handing over more than 500,000 records, dating back to 1999, to a private software firm.
The police’s East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) said the move would help it trace offenders more quickly and save money on staffing and storage.
Ian Gledhill, head of forensic services at EMSOU, said: “We now have the imaging and print quality to satisfy the requirements of the courts, making the need to hold paper records obsolete.
“Digitisation enables us to make identifications within minutes of a print being taken from a crime scene, increasing the prospect of tracing the offender.”
EMSOU said the current storage space was under pressure after the three forces amalgamated their files last year.
It said there was also a “significant annual cost to store them”, while staffing costs would be reduced.
Prior to 1999, all fingerprint records were sent to Scotland Yard for storage.
Northgate Public Services, a private company which also collects 50 per cent of the UK’s council tax, will be carrying out the work for the three forces.