This post is, unfortunately, nothing more than the result of an ‘If Carlsberg did Policing…‘ moment. But I think the theory behind it is actually quite sound and worth consideration. You never know…it might just happen.
In these days of ever accelerating technological advancement I have found myself wondering why I don’t know much about the career criminals that live a few miles up the road in the neighbouring area. We know they are up to no good as we regularly get circulations about their vehicles and latest exploits, but if I stopped one of them on the street, would I get the full picture? Almost certainly not…
These days it should be a simple matter of tapping their name and date of birth into a touch screen in the car or on a mobile device and opening a portal into their criminal lives. This is sadly not the case.
Think of all those useful bits of information that we feed into the intelligence section of our own force computer system on a daily basis such as:
- Frank was seen with the back of his 4×4 full of empty fuel containers, or
- Gary has suddenly started offering to do cheap hedge-trimming and has a nice new set of Stihl power tools to do it with
How much of that would get any where PNC and subsequently into the hands of the officer that has just stopped Frank walking through the industrial estate smelling suspiciously of diesel. How much would be passed to the officer that stopped Gary because he was seen driving a vehicle similar to that linked to some rogue trader gardening incidents but doesn’t have any reason to suspect he is actually involved as he has no gardening machinery in the truck at the time.
The answer is NONE.
Unless the officer in the originating force has been massively conscientious or the intelligence also formed part of the information relating to offences that warranted Information Reports being added to PNC it is entirely possible that Frank and Gary will be on their way with a Stop Search form and a warm feeling inside at having got one over on the ‘Old Bill’.
PNC has long an important place in world of Policing and I have been a keen user since I was lucky enough to get put on one of the few courses our force ran about six years ago however I feel that the time has long since passed that we should be upgrading from CEEFAX to Google and pulling in all the data that our neighbours and other forces throughout the UK have squirrelled away in their data centres over the years.
Systems such as ANPR have gone some way to achieving this in respect of the motoring world. I think it’s about time that the rest of the law-breakers in society got a taste of the modern age and found themselves unable to simply cross the border to drop off the criminal radar.
Perhaps its time for a law enforcement version of Facebook where we can all see who is friends with who, what their incarceration status is, (‘Locked Up’, ‘On Bail’ or the infamous ‘It’s Complicated’) and what they have been up to on their timeline…maybe comments on photos might be a little risky, but then again…
What do you think? A poll is included for your voting pleasure and please expand on your decision in the comments.
N.B. I am currently compiling a list of the different IT systems used by the 43 forces in England and Wales to see how many there actually are and how far from realistic this ideal of one integrated national system we actually are. Please email or DM me through Twitter (via @minimumcover) with your Force name and the name of the system you use. I will publish a table of results as soon as I get a decent number of responses.