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PND to be used to check all officers for red flags by March 31

This is part of longer term project to automate continuous checks on officers that have been raised through intelligence reports

Merseyside chief constable Serena Kennedy is heading up a project to automate PND checks on all officers on a continual basis.

This is part of a NPCC request that all forces complete manual PND checks on all officers to see if they have been flagged for possible criminal behaviour on the system by March 31.

The move follows the David Carrick case and gaps in police systems that have been pointed out by senior officers. This week BTP chief Lucy D’Orsi said that if an officer was arrested and didn’t declare that they were police, a biometric database check on their fingerprints and DNA would not flag this up. She added this should be fixed ‘as a priority.’

Now the NPCC is looking to complete manual PND checks on all officers in a very short space of time and in the longer term develop an automated checking system with Home Office help.

But another Home Office project to combine the PND with the PNC in an updated system is already years overdue and questions have also been raised in the past about the quality of data on the PND.

National Police Chiefs' Council Chair Martin Hewitt said that the manual checks on all officers within a couple of months are vital because “words will not rebuild confidence in policing."

He added:  “Checks of all officers and staff will ensure we are turning over every stone in our efforts to rid policing of abusers and corrupt individuals.  I know the dedicated, professional majority in policing will support this action. 

“Building on work by the NPCC over recent months, we have asked the Home Office to work with us to develop technology so forces can carry out regular automated checks giving our professional standards teams another fast-time feed of intelligence, helping them to quickly spot and act on concerns.” 

The next step is for forces to prepare HR data on officers and staff so that it can be processed through PND 

The NPCC admits that the time needed to complete this phase will vary from force to force “but the ambition is that all forces will have this completed by the end of February. “

Not all force data can go through the PND at the same time due to capacity in the system. This will be sequenced over a number of weeks and completed by 31 March. 

A 'manual trawl' through PND returns will be carried out to remove false positives. The checks will identify where there are data discrepancies not related to issues of concern, such as discrepancies in addresses recorded. Early research indicates that one person could potentially carry out 10-30 searches per day.  

The NPCC says: “By September police forces should have identified all cases for further investigation and will be starting those investigations.  The time taken to reach this stage will depend on scale and number of staff completing checks.  Investigations will be prioritised based on the threat and risk identified.”

In the longer term the ambition is to develop a new automated platform to carry out continuous PND checks 

Martin Hewitt, NPCC Lead for Prevention, CC Kennedy, and NPCC Lead for PND Amanda Blakeman have today written to chief constables laying out the timeline for this huge programme of work.  

CC Kennedy has been leading a programme looking at the automation of PND checks on officers on a continuous basis. The work has been ongoing in recent months.

Technical changes are required to the PND to make this viable and talks are ongoing with the Home Office as contract manager for the database. 

All police forces in England and Wales including British Transport Police and Civil Nuclear Constabulary will conduct these checks "on this timeline" according to the NPCC. 

Discussions are also taking place with Police Scotland and Police Service of Northern Ireland. 

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