Police get national intelligence sharing tool

Criminal index will allow forces to do national cross-checking...
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

Criminal index will allow forces to do national cross-checking...

Police will be able to cross-check whether other forces around the country hold information about someone they are investigating using a new database tool implemented by the Home Office following the Bichard Report into the failings of the Soham murder investigation.

The Impact Nominal Index (INI) is the first system to be delivered by the Impact programme set up by the Home Office in order to create a national police intelligence system following Bichard's recommendations.

The INI is an index of people whose details appear on local force IT systems and would not previously have been visible outside that force. This includes details of people held by a local force for intelligence purposes even though they may not have been prosecuted.

If that person then moved into another force area those intelligence details would not previously have been available to police in that area. The INI allows officers to enter the name and personal details of a person they are investigating and the INI will tell them which other forces hold any information on the person.

The INI went live at the end of 2005 and is an interim solution that only flags up the fact another police force has information on a person. The full Impact intelligence system will not be available until 2010.

But Home Office minister Hazel Blears said the new cross-checking index has already thrown up a number of new leads in ongoing investigations with one such check linking a person alleged to have committed an indecent assault on a 15-year-old girl to an identical case in another force.

Blears said in a statement at the official launch of the INI this week: "The ability to share information across police force boundaries is the key to effective policing at the national level. The INI is the first step in our plans to provide a national information sharing capability which will prevent criminals from escaping detection simply by crossing force boundaries."

The INI was developed in partnership with Cable & Wireless and Enline

The budget for the whole Impact programme in financial year 2005-06 is £52m, with budgets for future years yet to be set.

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