UK police to have BlackBerry access to investigation system

Aim to help police access key data when out conducting investigations

The National Policing Improvement Agency will set up mobile access to its central Holmes 2 investigation system.

Under a deal with existing supplier Unisys, and new software supplier Dexterra, officers at 59 police forces across the UK will be able to access the system on their Blackberrys or Windows-Mobile based PDAs.

Police across forces are already spending £80 million on mobile devices that will also allow officers to take fingerprints, check a central database of criminals, and file reports while they are still at crime scenes.

Over 5,000 investigators, support staff and managers will be able to set up mobile access to Holmes 2, which allows forces to share and find information more easily.

Using the Dexterra Concert application development platform, the police will build 11 applications for a range of tasks, including managing case progress, storing exhibit information, and searching and linking information from different cases. Each police force will be able to procure the combination of applications it chooses.

One month ago, the police announced it had made large modifications to the system, run by Unisys. The changes mean forces can more easily share information, and a new tagging system enables clearer labelling and better searches for specific details.

After the changes, police piloting the system found a 40 percent improvement in response times when searching for information. In order to see the information input by another force, however, cross-force agreements have to be in place.

The system helps police process the vast amounts of information generated during investigations, and aids them in identifying critical information links that could hold the key to solving a case.

During the last ten years, the HOLMES system has been used in around half of murder investigations, and has helped police solve multi-million pound fraud cases. It was used by the Metropolitan Police to help identify British citizens involved in the September 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

In early April the NPIA finally appointed a contractor, Logica, to build the Police National Database which will contain data on the criminals themselves. That appointment came five years after the Bichard report stated that police data sharing needed to be improved "as a matter of urgency".

That report, into the police investigation of the murders of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, found that the failure to link up intelligence led to the killer, Ian Huntley, being able to work as a school caretaker in spite of previous criminal allegations in areas of the country covered by other police forces.

But last July, a high level report by Sir Ian Magee found that the police had failed to introduce about a third of the recommendations on data sharing in the Bichard report, in spite of £2 billion worth of "public protection IT".

The PND is expected to use relevant information gathered from the HOLMES 2 investigations system.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Blackberry

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Leo King

Computerworld UK
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?