Memorandum by the National Policing Improvement
1. The National Policing Improvement Agency
(NPIA) was established by the Police and Justice Act 2006 and
is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) which reports to the
Home Secretary. The Agency is owned and governed through the tripartite
NPIA Board which includes representatives of the Association of
Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Association of Police Authorities
(APA), the Metropolitan Police Service and the Home Office. This
Memorandum sets out those areas of NPIA's work which we consider
are likely to be of most interest to the Committee.
2. NPIA vested on 1 April 2007. It is sponsored
and funded by the Home Office, but its executive leadership is
drawn from the Police Service. The NPIA will support forces in
improving the way they work across a range of policing activities
and policy areas for policing in England and Wales. It will act
as a central resource to ACPO and police forces, working closely
with Police Authorities and the Home Office to help improve the
way policing works. The NPIA's approach to improvement is centred
on ensuring that people, process and technology change is managed
coherently and forces provided with support and expertise to assist
the implementation of national programmes of change.
3. NPIA's mission is to support the police
service in reducing crime, maintaining order, bringing criminals
to justice and protecting and reassuring the public by providing
expertise in areas as diverse as information and communications
technology, support to information and intelligence sharing, core
police processes, managing change and recruiting, developing and
4. In order to support the police service
in reducing crime, maintaining order, bringing criminals to justice
and protecting and reassuring the public, the NPIA will improve
the way in which the service exploits information and intelligence
so that it is used efficiently and effectively across policing
and the wider criminal justice system. The NPIA will manage such
data in accordance with relevant legislation (including the Data
Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000) and
established policies and guidelines on data management and data
sharing (supporting the Transformational Government agenda).
5. NPIA's PNC Services is the service provider
of the PNC, ViSOR (Violent or Sexual Offenders Register), NFLMS
(National Firearms Licensing Management System) and shortly NABIS
(National Ballistics Information System). ViSOR and NFLMS are
accessed directly by forces/ enforcement agencies, and this will
also apply to NABIS, but they are also linked directly to the
PNC via an electronic interface.
6. The PNC came into existence in 1974 and
has continually evolved since then. It comprises of four main
Names (the nominal details) of which
there are over 8.6 million. With the introduction of NFLMS, this
also now includes Firearms Certificate Holders. The PNC is used
to make that information readily available and shared across all
Vehicles, 57.5 million.
7. The use of PNC is controlled by three
A statutory code of practice, The
Police National Computer, effective from 1 January 2005.
PNC Code of Connection.
8. Access to PNC is available to all Police
Forces of England, Wales and Scotland, together with the Police
Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). In addition it is accessed
by a number of other authorised Agencies for specific purposes
relating to law enforcement. Such access is controlled by ACPO's
PNC Information Access Panel (PIAP).
9. The NPIA Board recently approved the
creation of a new tripartite governance body, the Police National
Database Operational Committee, to have overall responsibility
for strategy and governance of Information Management in respect
of the police national databases that are supported by NPIA's
PNC Services. The terms of reference for the Committee provide
clear accountability and responsibility for a single governing
body to oversee these national databases. The Committee will have
an Ethics group with independent members.
NATIONAL DNA DATABASE
10. The National DNA Database (NDNAD) is
a key intelligence tool which has revolutionised the way the police
can protect the public through identifying offenders and securing
more convictions. The benefits of the NDNAD lie not only in detecting
the guilty but in eliminating the innocent from inquiries, focusing
the direction of inquiries resulting in savings in police time
and in building public confidence that elusive offenders may be
detected and brought to justice. Inclusion on the DNA Database
does not signify a criminal record and there is no personal cost
or material disadvantage to the individual simply by being on
11. The NDNAD Strategy Board provides governance
and oversight of the operation of the NDNAD. Similar to the new
Police National Database Operational Committee mentioned above
(paragraph 9), it has tripartite governance involving ACPO, APA
and the NPIA. The Strategy Board is chaired by the ACPO lead on
12. The NPIA in conjunction with ACPO and
the Home Office is responsible for policy on DNA and for assisting
the police service in using it in the most effective and efficient
way. The Agency also has responsibility for the delivery of National
DNA Database (NDNAD) services and has a key role in maintaining
and ensuring the integrity of the data entered and the use of
the data in the investigation of crime. The NPIA understands there
are improvements to be made in the management and delivery of
the NDNAD and are working with the police to improve the processes.
These include the reduction of duplicate entries on the database
through the national roll-out of Livescana system of automatic
fingerprinting terminals in every Police Force's custody unit.
Another key development is the use of consent forms when taking
samples from volunteers and witnesses for elimination purposes
and the subsequent use of the data.
13. The IMPACT Programme, which is being
led by NPIA, is helping to make communities safer by improving
the ability of the Police Service to manage and share operational
information to prevent and detect crime more efficiently. In doing
so, it is delivering seven of the 31 Recommendations made by Sir
Michael Bichard following his Independent Inquiry into the events
surrounding the Soham murders.
14. The Programme is introducing new technologies,
and helping the Service to implement the necessary business change,
to exploit the benefits of improved quality and access to information
across previously restrictive geographic and organisational boundaries.
15. The Programme has already delivered
the IMPACT Nominal Index (which enables investigating officers
in one force quickly to identify the existence of information
relating to an individual (suspect) which may be held in a database
by another police force in one of their key force databases).
This has been rolled out to all UK forces and a number of key
enforcement agencies. The Programme will ultimately deliver a
Police National Database (PND); a single source of detailed information
relating to people, objects (cars etc), locations and events that
will link data currently held on local systems with that held
on national systems such as the Police National Computer (PNC)
and will address Recommendations 1 and 4 of the Bichard Inquiry.
16. The IMPACT Programme is also helping
the Police Service to implement the requirements of the statutory
Code of Practice on the Management of Police Information (MoPI)
and the accompanying ACPO operational guidance.
17. The development of the PND does not
create new operational databases and creates new information only
in the sense that undiscovered links will be revealed and local
force information will be visible to other authorised users of
the system. The Programme is ensuring that the provisions of the
Data Protection and Human Rights Acts, and other legislation,
are observed and addressed; and that the impact on individual
privacy is appropriate and minimised. NPIA is working closely
with the Police Service, the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice
and the Information Commissioner.
18. Since 2002, the Association of Chief
Police Officers (ACPO) has promoted development of ANPR as a core
policing tool, in conjunction with key partner agencies. ANPR
is now overseen nationally by a multi-agency Programme Board,
chaired by ACPO, with NPIA, HMIC, SOCA and the Security Service,
amongst others, as members. ANPR has proven to be a very successful
operational tool, enhancing the ability of the police to intercept,
and arrest, a wide range of criminals using the roads.
19. In April 2007, the national work on
ANPR was incorporated into NPIA which, under continued ACPO leadership,
is responsible for operational ANPR services at a national level;
a programme of Assisted Implementation in Forces beginning in
autumn 2007; and co-ordination of the wider ANPR development programme.