Latest version of HOLMES offers improved intelligence capability

The latest version of the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES) for major criminal investigations and incident management is to go live. HOLMES will be delivered to more than 40 UK police forces via a single browser-based application hosted in a secure Unisys cloud service.

Nov 12, 2014
By Paul Jacques
Counsel General Mick Antoniw

The latest version of the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES) for major criminal investigations and incident management is to go live. HOLMES will be delivered to more than 40 UK police forces via a single browser-based application hosted in a secure Unisys cloud service.

Responsible for helping to solve some of the UK’s most high-profile cases, including work around Operation Seabrook involving allegations of serious sexual and physical abuse in County Durham, HOLMES gives senior officers a real-time view of live operations to enable efficient decision-making and the effective deployment, or reallocation, of police resources.

This latest version of HOLMES, being implemented by global IT company Unisys, provides critical new intelligence-sharing functionality plus improved functionality for tasking, alerting, reporting, messaging, analytics and document and records management.

Each police force has signed a separate contract to use the new HOLMES solution, with the new contracts representing the first procurement of a national policing system completed using the UK Government’s G-Cloud procurement framework and the Digital Marketplace (formally CloudStore). The G-Cloud procurement framework provides the public sector with a simplified and lower cost procurement process for approved cloud services.

The latest version of HOLMES application is based on the Unisys Law Enforcement Applications Framework (U-LEAF) that was launched globally earlier this year and will allow forces to lower the total cost of IT and share intelligence more easily, resulting in more powerful investigation and detection capabilities.

HOLMES’ new automated data analytics capabilities are designed to help police and other agencies collaborate to conduct successful investigations and intelligence activities, reducing manual processes, identifying investigative links that were not previously visible and allowing users to react rapidly to new information.

U-LEAF adds additional capabilities not originally incorporated in HOLMES that enable police to support a wider range of investigative challenges, such as the management of both individuals in custody and witnesses, crime scene monitoring and surveillance operations and recording high volumes of physical evidence.

U-LEAF can be configured to work across jurisdictions and borders so resource-challenged police departments, intelligence services and law enforcement personnel can manage crime and terror threats in any country. Its flexibility allows for easy system configuration as threats, crime patterns, legislation or public expectations change.

U-LEAF provides a POLE-type data model (person, object, location and event) for the storage and recording of incidents and entities. The POLE model allows data to be recorded in the system once.

The recorded entities, however, can be linked to other entities and events as many times as necessary, to build up the picture of an incident, or a network of associations. Providing automatic suggestions to potential associations between records, it helps identify crucial links in the investigative process.

Chief Constable Mike Barton of Durham Constabulary said: “The new version of HOLMES will connect UK police forces to provide critical new intelligence-sharing functionality that will help us in our efforts to resolve large cases as efficiently as possible. The cost and resourcing benefits we hope to achieve with HOLMES will support our efforts in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and the solution’s improved functionality will help us to meet the Government Information and Communications Technology strategy of reducing the number of police systems. Unisys has been a trusted partner of UK policing for many years and this new version of HOLMES is the result of a deep understanding of the requirements needed to perform our role.”

HOLMES was the IT system that revolutionised murder investigations and was first created after a review of the Yorkshire Ripper inquiries found that the paper-based systems in use

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