Police get national gun ballistic database

A new database will let police track ballistic details of guns and bullets.

The 8 million National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NaBIS) will hold analysis information on all ballistics - the details on guns and bullets that act as fingerprints that can be tracked.

For example, if a bullet shows up in one crime, and a similar one is found in another, police maybe able to connect the criminals behind the attack. It could also help track importers of weapons, the Home Office claimed.

The service, which is available to all 43 forces in England and Wales, includes a registry of all guns and bullets taken by the police, as well as ballistics comparison data.

David Shaw, the Association for Chief Police Officers' lead on NaBIS, said that the new service is a "step change in our investigative power."

"The national database will enable police forces to input data from all recovered firearms and ballistic material that comes into the possession of the police, allowing a comprehensive analysis of firearms types, usage, movements and trends," he said in a statement. "It will provide investigators with fast results, leading to speedy arrests, and ultimately save lives through the prevention of further crime."

Despite the system officially going live yesterday, it's been up and running for three months. Over that time, 700 items have been submitted for analysis, and over 100 gun crimes have been linked.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said at the service's launch that it will help take guns off streets: "Every gun or bullet tells a story. The National Ballistics Intelligence Service helps police unravel that story and track down offenders."

Referencing the popular American TV show, she added: "NABIS's specialist CSI-style analysis of ballistics effectively giving guns and bullets a fingerprint which can be tracked - will help police to match guns to offenders in double quick time."