Scottish forces have good intelligence sharing

In a new report published last week Scottish forces were highlighted as having particularly good intelligence-sharing systems.

Apr 5, 2007
By David Howell
Head of Counter Terrorism Policing Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, speaking at a Commons Home Affairs Committee meeting on Counter-extremism.

In a new report published last week Scottish forces were highlighted as having particularly good intelligence-sharing systems.

All Scottish intelligence is held in the central Scottish Intelligence Database that conforms to the National Intelligence Model and was also stated as being one of the fundamental reasons Scottish forces perform well with intelligence gathering and interrogation.

The report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) does, however also point out information sharing between the police and other organisations such as the health and social services could be improved.

HMIC’s report highlights the following progress in information and intelligence sharing:

  • Increased effort within the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) towards common information and communications technology.
  • Evidence of information and intelligence sharing at a local level helping solve community problems.
  • The adoption by ACPOS of a common manual of guidance on the management of police information.
  • The development of protocols for information sharing with partners and the increasing use of single points of contact between agencies.

Scottish Executive work to introduce data-sharing standards and local data-sharing and the adoption of the National Intelligence Model by the Scottish Prison Service.

HMIC also recommends:

  • Forces review the position of data protection officers and their staff within their structure.
  • ACPOS consults directly with criminal justice partner agencies to ensure greater access to the criminal history system, while maintaining security.
  • ACPOS consults with the Executive to determine whether chief constables should remain as data controllers of all SCRO databases.
  • Each force should produce an intelligence and information sharing strategy and the continued roll out of the use of single points of contact for sharing sensitive information between the police and other agencies.

Assistant Inspector of Constabulary Malcolm Dickson commented: “Scotland’s police forces manage intelligence and information held by them in a professional, secure, effective and sophisticated way.

“However, this report makes clear that the way forces share intelligence and information with other public services must improve if they are to provide a joined-up service which best meets the differing needs of individual members of the public.

“There is a growing awareness across the public sector that inefficient intelligence and information sharing can have serious consequences. For this to work properly and consistently in the area of public protection and harm reduction there should be a common framework and language between all public services.”

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