New software to support undercover policing

The latest additions to ABM’s covert policing and intelligence suite are designed to help police forces improve efficiency, ensure regulatory compliance and save money.

Jun 16, 2011
By Paul Jacques
Picture: Centre for Justice Innovation

The latest additions to ABM’s covert policing and intelligence suite are designed to help police forces improve efficiency, ensure regulatory compliance and save money.

The new software manages undercover operations and operatives within the boundaries of the law and helps technical support units (TSUs) to manage surveillance equipment and other crucial technical support resources.

The recent high-profile case of undercover operative Mark Kennedy and his involvement with the environmental activists behind the Ratcliffe-on-Soar protest in 2009, highlighted the need for effective management of undercover operatives. The ‘undercover’ module improves management oversight of operatives’ activities by providing a secure central record of their operations and background information. The system also allows intelligence gathered from undercover operations to be sanitised and used as force-wide intelligence, maximising the benefit of undercover operations.

Inadvertent non-compliant surveillance can have potentially damaging consequences, including loss of public confidence and abandonment of criminal cases. The ‘TSU’ model ensures that the unit is alerted to the expiration of any surveillance authorisation so that the risk of breaching the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 is limited.

Anton Roe, director of operations at ABM, said virtually all covert activity can now be managed using the new software, a big improvement on the paper-based or basic electronic systems used by many forces.

The software is also compatible with regionalised operations. By sharing undercover and TSU resources, significant cost savings and increased efficiency can be made through improved communication.

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