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West Yorkshire Police

Volume 35: debated on Monday 17 January 1983

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the West Yorkshire chief constable on the implementation of computer methods for the storage and retrieval of information received during criminal investigations, especially serious criminal investigations, in view of the comments in the Byford report; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is in close touch with the chief constable about the provision of computer assistance in connection with major criminal investigations, particularly in the context of two recent serious attacks on women in West Yorkshire.More generally, in conjunction with the Essex police, the Home Office scientific research and development branch is conducting an experiment intended to provide, in the longer term, a computer system specifically geared to major criminal investigations. In the shorter term, the Department has been examining ways of using micro-computers in major investigations and of transferring data from a micro-computer to a larger facility in the event of the limited capacity of the micro-computer being exceeded. This work should be completed in the spring and guidance will then be issued to chief officers of police.Meanwhile, certain police national computer facilities have been made available, on an experimental basis, to the officers conducting an investigation into a number of attacks on women in Surrey and the Metropolitan Police district; these facilities are additional to the PNC files which are available to police officers in criminal investigations generally.