National police database gets £367m sign off

National police database gets £367m sign off

Impact programme will deliver nationwide data sharing by 2010

The Home Office has signed off the £367m business plan for the development of national police intelligence systems.

The Impact programme was established in response to the Bichard inquiry into the Soham murders in 2002. In 2004 Sir Michael Bichard recommended the creation of intelligence sharing systems as 'a national priority'.

The first elements of the plan went live at the end of last year. Using the Impact Nominal Index (INI), police officers are now able to find out if information on a person is held by any other force in the country. But the information is not yet directly accessible and so far the INI is only up and running in some child abuse units.

The overall Impact programme includes the Cross-Regional Information Sharing Project (Crisp) to standardise the formats of existing police data so it can be accessed nationally through data warehouses.

The sharing facility will be up and running by 2010, says the Home Office.

Police Minister Hazel Blears said: 'The Impact programme is already delivering new capabilities, and the development of a police national database will transform the way in which police share intelligence and other information.

'The programme will target offenders operating across force boundaries and help police more effectively prevent and detect crime, and bring more offenders to justice, contributing to our aims of building safer communities and greater public confidence,' she said.

The Police National Database, which will include the next-generation Police National Computer records of conviction information, will work through the Criminal Justice Exchange hub being developed by the £2bn Criminal Justice IT programme.

Impact and its related business process change requirements will also progress in conjunction with Home Office plans to consolidate the 43 independent local forces into a smaller number of regional organisations.

Sources close to Impact say an earlier version of the business plan was rejected by the Home Office last year because the £2bn price tag was considered too high.