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IMPACT Programme

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) pursuant to the written statement of 19 April 2006, Official Report, columns 17-19WS, on the IMPACT programme, how many police forces in England and Wales are using the IMPACT nominal index (INI); how many police officers on average have access to the INI within each child abuse investigation unit; when he expects the INI to be available to all police officers in every force; what further development of the INI is planned; and what assessment he has made of its likely impact on police forces; (73239)

(2) pursuant to the written statement of 19 April 2006, Official Report, columns 17-19WS, on the IMPACTS programme, what estimated (a) funds and (b) manpower will be required by police forces in England and Wales to implement the IMPACT nominal index in other business areas outside child abuse investigation units;

(3) pursuant to the statement on the IMPACT programme issued by his Department on 19 April 2006, which business areas within police forces will receive the IMPACT nominal index (INI) during 2006 in addition to child abuse investigation units.

All 43 forces in England and Wales have been using the IMPACT nominal index (INI) since it was deployed in December 2005 to a child abuse investigation unit, with at least two trained users, in each force. The IMPACT programme will complete deployment to force child abuse investigation units by the end of July this year, on the basis of requirements identified by chief constables, which will mean that 850 staff (around a third of all staff in this business area) will be trained in the use of the INI.

Although the IMPACT nominal index is currently intended to be used primarily for child protection, officers from other business areas may, with the authority of an officer of at least superintendent rank, have searches carried out where necessary for the prevention or detection of serious crime. It is our intention to deploy the INI to other business areas following full deployment to child abuse investigation units but we do not plan to train all officers in the use of the INI or to give all officers direct access to the system; searches can be carried out on their behalf. Which areas should receive the application, and in which order, will be determined in consultation with the police service, informed by the outcome of current trials involving the Thames Valley Force Intelligence Bureau; the Child Exploitation and On-line Protection Centre; the East Midlands Regional Special Operations Unit and the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command. At the conclusion of the trials in August, the IMPACT Programme Board will have a better understanding of the business benefits and resources required to respond to inter-force requests for information following a match on the INI. It is for forces to determine how to manage the resource requirements to implement the new operational capability we are delivering. The INI is being developed to incorporate certain local audit and administration functions. We are currently assessing the impact of INI on forces in terms of the operational benefits delivered by the system and the demands associated with responding to inter-force enquiries. On-site surveys and case reviews are being conducted to identify the type and number of cases where INI-identified data have made a significant contribution to their work. We are also working with forces to identify best practice and potential new applications of the system.