Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary note by the Association of Chief Police Officers


  I am now able to provide the additional information required by the Home Affairs Committee with regard to the current position concerning the implementation of a National Firearms Database.

  The fact that there has been little progress in establishing a central register can be attributed initially to the lack of Police National Computer (PNC) development resources to take forward this work in parallel with other Ministerial and ACPO priorities. However, there was also a need for an agreed police user requirement to be specified which took a while to complete. An outline police user requirement was agreed earlier this year and a copy is attached[10] for the Committee's information.

  As a next step, it will be necessary to carry out a detailed impact assessment of the work needing to be undertaken (at PNC and in forces) to link PNC to existing firearms systems in forces. We expect to begin the work in February and complete this first stage in April. (This was advised on 10 November in a written answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton to a Parliamentary Question from Lord Marlesford).

  In advance of the impact assessment being completed it is, of course, not possible to give an accurate indication of when the system would be in live operation. An initial estimate suggests though that if development could begin in April 2000, it might be completed around April 2001 (at a likely cost of perhaps £500,000). This would point to live operation about Summer 2001, allowing for implementation and training across forces.

  I trust the Committee will find this information, together with the attached, useful when considering the advantages and issues surrounding a National Database.

James Hart QPM BSc PhD FMgt

Assistant Commissioner

City of London Police

23 December 1999

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