National police intelligence system looks at using existing IT

Criminal Justice IT hub could save building brand new system from scratch...
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

Criminal Justice IT hub could save building brand new system from scratch...

The government is considering using the existing Criminal Justice IT (CJIT) hub as the basis for the national police intelligence system recommended by the Bichard Report following the intelligence failings of the Soham murder investigation.

The Criminal Justice Exchange is a digital hub at the heart of the government's £2bn national CJIT programme that will allow the secure electronic transfer of police and court case information between the seven different criminal justice agencies.

The government awarded the Exchange IT contracts last year with a £17m hosting deal with Fujitsu Services and a software development deal worth tens of millions of pounds with Steria. The hub is due to be completed by March 2008.

The Home Office meanwhile has yet to approve the full business case for the national Impact police intelligence system, which is due to be finished by 2010. It is currently examining ways of using the Exchange instead of getting IT suppliers to build a brand new - and much more costly - intelligence sharing system from scratch.

John Suffolk, director-general of CJIT, in an interview with silicon.com said the Exchange has the potential to meet the needs of the Impact intelligence system.

He said: "We are working with the police Impact team to see whether or not what we've done on the electronic heart can fulfil some of their requirements. One of the options is to use the Exchange."

He stressed that no decisions have been made yet and said the issue is whether there is enough core functionality in the Exchange already or whether it will be easier to build a new Impact system from scratch.

Suffolk added: "The Exchange does a lot of this sort of stuff anyway. You can connect data sources and share it. The question is, can you grow that versus it not being complete enough and therefore we have to go to market."

The developers of a Scottish Intelligence Database (SID) are also pushing for that system to be adopted by English and Welsh police forces as part of the Impact programme. The hosted SID cost £5.6m to build and £3m to manage and is used by 17,000 police officers in all eight Scottish forces.

The first part of the Impact programme went live last month with the official launch of the Impact Nominal Index, which will allow police to cross-check whether other forces around the country hold intelligence about someone they are investigating on their own patch.

Read the full interview with CJIT's John Suffolk on silicon.com on Monday.

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