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Police: ICT

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 22 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in the integration of police IT systems. (198572)

The Police Service has established policy and standards which enable integration, notably the Management of Police Information, a statutory code of practice introduced in 2005 to ensure that all police operational information is managed in a consistent way. The Association of Chief Police Officers Information Systems Strategy for the Police Service, which was adopted in 2006, sets out the standards used to specify, acquire and operate nationally-compatible Police information systems.

Police Information Technology (IT) systems are integrated with Criminal Justice partners; the Criminal Justice System Exchange provides IT services to enable common case information to be shared. Additionally, common solutions integrate the data from police forces to provide national information resources. Last year saw the completion of the National Firearms Licensing Management System and ViSOR, a United Kingdom-wide system used to store and share information and intelligence on those individuals who have been identified as posing a risk of serious harm to the public.

The IMPACT Nominal Index, operational since 2005, allows police officers to establish whether any forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland hold information about a person of interest. The next phase of IMPACT, the Police National Database, is now in procurement and will provide a single access point for searching across all of the forces' main operational information systems.

Police forces are implementing information systems where master filing eliminates data redundancy in incident recording, investigations, case preparation and intelligence: each item of data, such as a suspect's name, is recorded in the system only once. Collaborations on regional crime, such as East Midlands Special Operations Unit, are using the secure Police National Network (PNN3), to which all forces connect, to give officers access to intelligence sources in each of the participating forces.

In his Review of Policing, Sir Ronnie Flanagan identifies further areas for the development of common approaches to operational processes and procurement which will set new challenges for the management of information systems across the Police Service. At the time of publication of the Review, my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, commissioned the National Policing Improvement Agency to carry out a review of police IT and report to the National Policing Board (NPB) on 6 May. The report will form the basis for our future strategy for the more effective delivery of policing, supported by excellent IT systems.