PSNI surveillance tool goes live

 The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has gone live with abmpegasus Telecoms – a software solution designed to manage requests for accessing and analysing an individual’s communications data, as required under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000.

Jan 11, 2007
By David Howell

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has gone live with abmpegasus Telecoms – a software solution designed to manage requests for accessing and analysing an individual’s communications data, as required under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000.

As a result of ABM’s software, PSNI has eliminated hand-written forms, reduced time-intensive paperwork and largely automated the request approval procedure. Already, since the beginning of October 2006 when the solution was implemented, PSNI has reduced the time taken to manage aspects of the process from half a day to just 20 minutes.

Under RIPA, all police forces must gain authorisation from a ‘designated person’ prior to accessing the mobile phone, Internet and postal data of suspected offenders or other individual’s of interest. This process is managed by an authorised person known as a ‘single point of contact’ (SPoC) who liaises with the Communications Service Provider (CSP) – which is any company in the world providing public communications.

Telecoms is part of a wider suite of police software products known as abmpegasus. The Telecoms solution manages the full range of telecommunications requests that police and other public authorities and law enforcement agencies will make under RIPA, including Internet and postal communications data. The module complies with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) national policy for accessing communications data – regulated by Part 1, Chapter 2 of RIPA. All applications submitted are recorded and managed allowing for statistical reporting of the requests and the intelligence retrieved to be made available through the Intelligence Source Registry.

Detective Inspector Kevin Geddes of the PSNI explains the benefits of using ABM’s software: “Previously the process of requesting authorisation to access telecoms records was very paper intensive and would result in documents having to be physically signed. The manual administration of this could take anything up to half a day and would be particularly time consuming if a single request had to cover several mobile operators, for example the investigation of an individual and their associates on different mobile networks. Using Telecoms, the process has been dramatically speeded up and means the administration time spent by PSNI is just twenty minutes. Since documents can be authorised electronically, requests for information can be presented to the CSP more quickly and turned around faster.”

Alastair Luff, ABM Group Managing Director comments: “ABM software is designed to let the Police get on with their job of protecting the public and preventing crime. With a full range of compliance modules and workflow functions the PSNI can be confident that by using Telecoms it not only experiences massive time savings but also meets all of its legal obligations under RIPA and the European Human Rights Act.”

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