Two national databases to handle gun crime intelligence

The government's attempts to tackle growing numbers of firearms incidents are set to bring policing technology and data management into focus, following a summit at Downing Street last week.

After high-profile shootings in South London, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a three-point plan to battle gun crime. The Home Office said the plan would see tougher punishments for gun crimes, more funding for community groups, and improved technology to link weapons to incidents.

"There is not a single, simple solution to keeping guns off our streets and our children out of harm's way," said Home Secretary John Reid.

The Home Office cited two databases set to organise police work across England and Wales in the coming year. The National Firearms Licensing Management System, already being rolled out, will let police forces access information about legally-held guns and their owners.

From April of next year, the National Ballistics Intelligence Database(NABIS) will track details of all weapons and ammunition recovered from crime scenes. The new 4 million database replaces and upgrades the Forensic Science Service's National Firearms Forensics Intelligence Database, which has collected ballistics intelligence since 2002.

"NABIS will provide a national database via three national hubs - London, Birmingham and Manchester - for all recovered firearms and ballistic material such as complete rounds of ammunition, cartridge cases and projectiles," said a Home Office spokesperson. "Crucially, the database will also link those ballistics items to tactical intelligence recorded by Police forces and other UK law enforcement agencies."

answering questions online