NPIA launches Police National Database

Police database

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has today launched a new database to increase sharing of information between the UK's Police forces.

The Police National Database (PNS) has come as a result of an inquiry by Lord Michael Bichard, which concluded the lack of intelligence sharing within the Police was a factor in the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham back in 2002.

An initial interim system was put in place, but now the PND has taken over, containing the details of roughly 15 million individuals. The NPIA worked with the Police and tech firm Logica which won the 75.6 million contact back in 2009 to implement the database and funding came from the Home Office.

"We know that child abusers, drug dealers and terrorists don't respect force boundaries, but in many cases forces have been conducting their investigations in isolation, unable to see everything the police service knows about a suspect and unable to make fully informed decisions," said the NPIA chief executive Nick Gargan.

"The PND pulls together all that local knowledge and allows investigators to see the full intelligence picture. As a result, they can react far more quickly and effectively when it comes to protecting the public."

The NPIA has tried to calm privacy and security fears by calling the PND "the most secure national police system developed to date" and confirming only "authorised and vetted users" will have access to the information stored.

It also claimed extra controls had been added to ensure Police only access data relevant to their jobs, along with a regular auditing system to "deter misuse."

"It is strongly in the interests of the public and the victims of crime that this information is shared so that criminals can be pursued and brought to justice," said Nick Herbert, the Government's policing and criminal justice minister.

"Equally, robust safeguards are in place to ensure that access to this information is properly limited and civil liberties are protected."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.