Nationwide database to protect children

Currently the Scottish intelligence database has only been available to Scottish forces, but from September of this year it will be linked to a new national system that will include forces in England and Wales.

Aug 10, 2006
By David Howell

Currently the Scottish intelligence database has only been available to Scottish forces, but from September of this year it will be linked to a new national system that will include forces in England and Wales.

The Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland (ACPOS) believes that the move to pool the data would be a positive step in the protection of children in particular.

Tom Halpin, Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders and the ACPOS spokesperson on child protection, told The Herald newspaper: “We have to recognise Scotland is a separate country but as part of the UK we need to protect all our citizens. It will be costly but it is a system we need.”

Some politicians have stated that they fear the database could interfere with civil rights.

Stewart Stevenson, the SNP’s deputy justice spokesman, said: “There is no guarantee that Scottish data will be protected. We have also seen the difficulties with ID cards technology due to soaring costs and challenges in making it work which suggests that integrating data cross-border will be far from easy.”

The Home Office has stated that pre-conviction and post-conviction data as well as DNA information would be accessible to all forces. A spokesman said: “We are working with the Scottish police forces to ensure the systems are compatible.

“The INI (nominal index) is already being rolled out to child protection units in England and Wales and that is being extended to Scotland by November 2006.”

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