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Bichard Inquiry Recommendations Second Progress Report - full implementation of the IMPACT programme drifts out from 2007 to 2010

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has now published his Bichard Inquiry Recommendations Second Progress Report (.pdf)

Full implementation of IMPACT now seems to have drifted out to at least 2010 as a result of a fundamental review of the project since the First Bichard Progress Report.

"The Information Management, Prioritisation, Analysis, Co-ordination and Tasking (IMPACT) programme has been radically re-engineered and strengthened as the basis for incremental improvements to police information management and sharing. Direct sharing of information will roll out to forces progressively between 2007 and 2010."

Is this because the horrendous complexity is being properly addressed, or is it because the vested interests see an opportunity to gold plate the system ?

Originally IMPACT was going to be fully implemented by 2007, as we reported previously:

"New information sharing tools will start becoming available to police forces and the Criminal Records Bureau through the police local cross-check system (PLX) from early 2005, and there will be a progressive strengthening of capabilities until completion of the IMPACT programme in 2007"

The cost estimates for IMPACT and the other minor systemms recommended by Bichard now seem set to be at least £50 million a year until 2010 i.e. just over £250 million.

This does not include the separate expenditure needed to bring the Court and Criminal Justice systems up to date, only the Police intelligence sharing systems.

The Criminal Records Bureau is obviously looking to the controversial proposed National Identity Register with glee:

Recommendation 25: Fingerprints should be used as a means of verifying identity

The CRB continues to engage with ID cards programme on future business model for the CRB in light of ID cards A revised benefits realisation plan has been agreed with the ID Cards Scheme. Consideration is being given to the Disclosure Service being included in the compulsory services category from the point of introduction of the scheme

Recommendation 25 – Implemented
[The CRB will not routinely use fingerprints to verify until the ID cards programme enables this]

The CRB will continue to work closely with the ID cards programme through the ID Cards Bill passage through Parliament

Milestones are still to be agreed with the ID cards programme

There is mention of a new Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill in this session of Parliament
Will this mean even more bureaucracy involving the Criminal Records Bureau ? Or will it be a genuine improvement ?

4.26 Elsewhere, a legislative provision was made for a data-sharing gateway, introduced under SOCPA, which was commenced on 1 July 2005. The CRB are continuing to develop a revised identity authentication strategy, which includes further dialogue with the Home Office ID cards programme and the development in partnership of a revised benefits realisation plan.

This is a reference to the "gateway" which now is meant to share Passport data and Driver Vehicle Liceensing Agency data with the Criminal Records Bureau under section 164 Criminal records checks: verification of identity of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

Annex C of the report gives a high level view of the Code of Practice on the Management of Police Information.

Those people who lightly dismiss the independent estimates for the timescales, cost and complexity of the National Identity Register scheme proposed in the Identity Cards Bill should take a careful look at this Bichard Progress Report, to see a glimpse of the costs and complexity of implementing a system which tries to bring together the independent IT systems, interim partial solutions etc. amongst a mere 60 or so Police forces and security agencies , all of which are using essentially simiilar data and software.

The NIR is planned to have a similar impact on 265 Government departments and 44,000 private sector organisations, with very much more diversity in systems and software, according to the Home Office ID Card "Procurement Strategy Market Sounding" documents


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At last the media has got around to reporting the announced delay in the IMPACT system:

The Times December 29, 2005 'Vital' police computer is delayed

By Richard Ford, Home Correspondent

A £167 MILLION police computer system, a key recommendation of the inquiry into the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, is three years behind schedule.

Because of the delay, police will not be able fully to share intelligence on suspects until at least the end of the decade.

The Bichard inquiry into police failings during the hunt for Ian Huntley, who was convicted two years ago of killing 10-year-old Holly and Jessica in Soham, recommended the introduction of a national IT system for police intelligence as a “matter of urgency”.

The inquiry’s focus on information-sharing found a huge gap in police IT systems in England and Wales. It recommended that providing police with an IT system in which officers could access intelligence data held by other forces should be “a priority for the Government”.

The Home Office accepted the recommendation and launched Project Impact to provide a common IT system for managing criminal intelligence. It is seen as crucial in preventing a repeat of the intelligence failings surrounding the Soham murders.

A year ago the Home Office promised that the project would be completed by September 2007, when there would be "full data-sharing capability". That ambitious target has now been abandoned. A newsletter from the Police Information Technology Organisation in August, seen by The Times, shows that full roll-out is not now expected until 2010.

Presumably this one: PITO News Summer 2004 - Bichard delivers a call to arms

A progress report on the implementation of the Bichard report’s recommendations confirmed last month that the project was already three years behind schedule. It stated:

"Direct sharing of information will roll out to forces progressively between 2007-2010."

Some police sources claim that the cost implications have alarmed the Home Office at a time when the Chancellor is trying to restrain public spending.

A year ago the Home Office said that the first stage of the project would be accessible to police forces from March 2005, but the letter seen by The Times stated that it would not be implemented until this month. The progress report now says the initial stage will be rolled out only to child investigation units in police forces rather than services as a whole.


Who thinks that the empire building and political and budgetary battles which will be distracting the senior Police managers, for the foreeeable future . as a result of the plans to reduce the number of Constabulary forces down to about a dozen or so, will be conducive to even this revised timetable for IMPACT being achieved ?

So back in November 2005 completion of IMPACT was announced to have drifted out from 2007 to 2010, at a cost estimate of over £250 million.

Yesterday it seems that this cost estimate has risen to £367 million !


Green Light for National Police Database

19 April 2006

A £367m plan to develop a national police database that will link up police information across England and Wales has been finalised by the Home Office.

The IMPACT Programme's plans pave the way for a new technology-based system designed to connect information held locally and nationally by police systems, as well as on the Police National Computer.

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