Skip to main content

Police National Database Code of Practice

Volume 507: debated on Wednesday 17 March 2010

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary today has laid before the House a statutory code of practice on the operation and use of the Police National Database (PND). The code of practice is made under section 39A of the Police Act 1996, following a public consultation exercise which finished at the beginning of February 2010.

The PND will, for the first time, enable the police service in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and other law enforcement bodies that support public protection, to share, access and search existing local intelligence and operational information on a national basis. The PND fulfils one of the key recommendations of Sir Michael Bichard’s inquiry into the Soham murders and will replace the interim information-sharing solution we put in place in 2005, the IMPACT nominal index.

The PND, which is due to be launched in May 2010, will provide forces with immediate access to up-to-date information from across the service. It will bring together existing data from five operational areas of policing—custody, crime, intelligence, child abuse and domestic abuse—in to one central system. It will help the police to prevent and detect crime, with a focus on safeguarding children and vulnerable people, countering terrorism, and preventing and disrupting serious and organised crime.

The purpose of the code of practice is to promote consistent and lawful use of the PND. Chief police officers will have to have regard to the code and the supporting guidance when adopting practices for the use of the PND and the information obtained from it. This will help to ensure that such information is used effectively for policing purposes.

The PND will not hold new information—it will store intelligence and other information held on local force systems—but there will be concerns about how this information is used. The code of practice is one of a number of important safeguards that will help to prevent misuse of the new system.

Copies of the code of practice will be made available in the Vote Office.