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From protecting children from being groomed on Facebook to tackling drugs traffickers, the Police National Database (PND) is playing an important role in safeguarding potential victims and bringing offenders to justice more quickly.
As it marks its first anniversary, the PND, delivered by the National Policing Improvement Agency, has already transformed the way police and law enforcement agencies in the UK share locally held intelligence and information. They are now able to see the full intelligence picture immediately, and identify patterns of criminal behaviour much earlier.
Since its launch, more than 700,000 searches have been conducted on the PND for information, illustrating its value to policing. There have been many successes that have included:
Providing intelligence about an organised crime gang involved in the wholesale supply of drugs;
Identifying potential leads in a double murder investigation;
Helping police to track down a missing Registered Sex Offender; and
Providing more information about a domestic violence offender which led police to identify a further individual who was a repeat victim.
The value of the PND was demonstrated in the West Mercia force area in relation to a potential child abuse investigation. After receiving allegations that a man had openly groomed a vulnerable teenage girl on Facebook, police investigators used the database to help them learn more about the suspect's previous offending behaviour. Officers were able to take action quickly to safeguard the child and other potential future victims.
Detective Inspector Mark Colquhoun, of West Mercia's Force Intelligence Bureau, said: "One of the key benefits of PND is the immediacy of the information held within the system. By substantially reducing the delay in accessing other forces'data, PND enables us to respond more quickly, which means lower risk to the public and the earlier apprehension of offenders."
National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) Chief Executive Nick Gargan said: "The scale of use shows just how important the Police National Database has become as a crime fighting tool in only a short period of time. It now provides police with a faster and automated system for sharing vital information.
“It is particularly poignant and re-assuring to reflect on its successes as we approach August and the tenth anniversary of the tragic events at Soham that led to the development of the Police National Database.”
The PND has been delivered by the NPIA in partnership with the police service, and technology and service company Logica.
Working with Logica, the agency has implemented a series of upgrades to the PND to make it easier to identify and trace suspects from only limited information available to investigators. These include searches relating to an individual’s description, such as distinguishing marks, height, gender or age, and other information linked directly to a suspect such as objects, locations or police records such as crime reports or custody information.
Gary Bullard, President of Logica in the UK, said: “The Police National Database has made a real difference to police forces’ ability to access intelligence information held across the UK. With more than 700,000 searches so far, the database has been proven to assist police in protecting society and we are hugely proud of our role in this. Working alongside our partners and the NPIA we are continuously improving the PND to ensure it provides a simple yet secure route for forces to search and share information vital to their investigations.”