Written evidence submitted by Police National
Legal Database (PNLD) (NLP05)|
PNLD (Police National Legal Database) is a not for
profit organisation which is owned by and sits within the West
Yorkshire Police estate. It must be stressed that the views expressed
within this submission are not attributable to either that force
or the authority.
This submission only addresses the first two questions
in relation to procurement and the taking up of functions of the
As stated above PNLD is a not for profit organisation
which provides managed services in conjunction with its technology
partners PDMS to the police services of England and Wales and
other sectors of the criminal justice service (CJS). These services
Information database and website for practitioners within the
and dissemination of Standard Offence Wordings and Codes used
within the CJS.
based Information FAQ database and website for the public and
also for practitioners within the call handling arena of England
and Wales and more recently Scotland.
statistics database for use by police analysts and performance
These services involve close working relationships
with all police forces, ACPO, NPIA and other agencies within the
PNLD currently receive no central or external funding.
As a not for profit organisation, all monies received through
subscriptions are fed back into development of the current products,
or the creation of new ones to assist with improving efficiency
and contributing to police savings.
As an organisation we feel well placed to make comment
on items 1 and 2 of the requested submission. PNLD and our technology
partners have dealt with and deal with procurement departments
across the police service and other government departments on
a regular basis. We also work with departments within the NPIA
particularly in the area of Case and Custody provision.
1. What progress has the Government made so
far, and what further steps should it take, in driving:
(a) More effective procurement in the police service
1.1 Even though current procurement procedures
are moving ahead within the police forces of England and Wales
- specifically from a regional perspective, we at PNLD feel that
the different structures across the country will continue to get
in the way of potential collaborative projects as evidenced by
PNLD's efforts to introduce a national recruitment advertising
web site in 2009-10.
1.2 PNLD had for some time worked within a cost
free collaborative agreement with such a site - "All Police
Jobs". One force agreed to pilot the use of the site and
the usage and savings were presented to ACPO and Chief's Council,
APA, APACE, NPIA and the idea, in essence, was sanctioned together
with the potential to take on responsibility of the "could
you" site which was costing the Home Office £75k per
year. However, when it came to attempting to both attract forces
to the idea and move towards a procurement exercise, existing
contracts and agreements, processes and procedures got in the
way of moving things forward - and it is still held in abeyance.
1.3 A different experience was encountered in
Scotland with the Scottish Forces where life was a lot simpler
when we attracted interest in our Frequently Asked Questions database.
All eight forces were engaged through a national group the process
was assisted by ACPOS and the SPSA became involved at an IT level
when dealing with our technology partners. The site was launched
successfully, a lead force was selected different arms of the
project and procurement was managed through SPSA - a lot simpler.
(b) The removal of unnecessary bureaucracy
in the police service
1.4 Bureaucracy and record keeping will always
need to exist within public service in general and the police
service in particular for the following reasons:
Prevention of Corruption
1.5 Strides have been taken to minimise the unnecessary
face of bureaucracy through legislation (such as requirement to
complete forms for stop and account etc
and I am sure this
will continue in the years and months ahead. We have also seen
calls for a reduction in the need for as many statistics to be
collected and disseminated.
1.6 However this was countered by the recent
publication at www.police.uk of the crime maps. It would seem
there is always an appetite for statistics and their interpretation.
1.7 The police service continues to have an obsession
with audit trails and conform slavishly to processes which are
there to protect the organisation(s). Evidence has been provided
above re the procurement issues where common sense and an element
of risk taking provided a more swift solution to a similar problem.
1.8 An element of "risk averse" procedures
would assist in this regard.
(c) Greater collaboration between forces and
other partners, from both the private and the public sectors?
1.9 Having recently attended a National Collaboration
Conference held at the NPIA centre, Ryton it is apparent there
is a lot of work is proceeding which embraces the concept of collaboration.
Operation Athena is a perfect example to hold up to the rest of
the police service.
1.10 With the advent of the dissolution of NPIA
as an entity within the police service, there will be a greater
need to collaborate at both a private and public level.
1.11 PNLD are a perfect example of how collaboration
with other public and private bodies in providing managed services
does work and could work in the future.
1.12 We work with public services such as Ministry
of Justice, the Crown Prosecuting Service and other law enforcement
agencies to ensure the correct use of offence wordings and codes
to ensure consistency at the beginning of the criminal justice
1.13 We work with our technical partners to ensure
a delivery of service to all our differing customers within the
criminal justice arena which takes the responsibility of that
area of business ie ensuring information is precise, correct and
what the customer needs.
1.14 Within a mutually beneficial collaborative
partnership, where a not for profit organisation such as PNLD
is involved it can be ensured that product development and creation
will always be at the forefront of any negotiations.
1.15 Any incentives from central government or
private partners will always prove beneficial and may provide
2. Which bodies should take on the functions
of the National Policing Improvement Agency when it is phased
2.1 Since its inception the NPIA has taken on
responsibility for a wide variety of functions, all of which go
a long way to support the police service.
2.2 It provides 20 or so what it terms "critical
services" ranging from the national fingerprint database,
the police national computer and the specialist operations centre
together with another 200 or so support services which predominantly
involve training support and some delivery.
2.3 Most of the critical services cannot be dissolved
completely. The ones that require police oversight need to be
identified and then moved to one of three options, the National
Crime Agency (once governance is decided), ACPO or a lead force
(collaboration)which has the resilience, constitution and stability
to be able to support such an asset transfer - including IT infrastructure.
2.4 There are going to be some critical services
which could be spun out of the public service such as DORS (Driver
Training Scheme) and follow the social enterprise model.
2.5 The support services which mostly revolve
around training provision need to be split into those which can
be stopped completely (ie no requirement any more), those which
can be delivered locally and those which can be delivered at other
2.6 There needs to be an overarching umbrella
organisation which continues to set standards of training etc..
and devises curriculum.
2.7 There are smaller organisations in the policing/IT/Educational
world which have connections within all forces (and with other
agencies within law enforcement and the criminal justice arena),
who are established in the world of public/private partnership
and with some assistance could provide support to such an umbrella
2.8 PNLD are one such body who as has been previously
explained operate as a not for profit organisation, are ideally
positioned within the policing arena and already provide a variety
of products for the benefit of the policing world and their partners.
2.9 They and their IT partners PDMS are well
versed in the areas of collaborative and partnership working within
the information handling arena and are a perfect example of where
some of the smaller support services of NPIA could be taken on.