Fingerprint request saw ‘German police amputate and send criminal’s hands to UK’

German police amputated a criminal’s hands and sent them to Britain when asked for fingerprint samples, according to the policing minister.

Kit Malthouse said the incident occurred in the “early days of fingerprinting” and the hands are still stored in a jar of formaldehyde in the Metropolitan Police’s crime museum.

He told his anecdote as MPs debated the Forensic Science Regulator and Biometrics Strategy Bill.

The proposed legislation seeks to create a watchdog to monitor forensic science laboratories.

Appearing in the Commons, Mr Malthouse rose to his feet to intervene on a speech being made by Labour MP Rupa Huq.

He said: “I just wanted to share a small anecdote with the House.

“In the early days of fingerprinting, the Metropolitan Police were in pursuit of a particular criminal who was apparently apprehended in Germany.

“They sent away to the German police to ask for this criminal’s – he sadly deceased – fingerprints to be sent so they could close the case.

“And the German police amputated his hands and sent them whole and they sit in a jar of formaldehyde in the Met Police’s crime museum to this day.”

Ms Huq (Ealing Central and Acton) replied: “Goodness me. We live and learn. You learn a new thing every day.

“What a gory story though.”