The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has revealed an intent to develop a platform for automated checks of officers and staff against the Police National Database (PND).
It has gone public with the plan as part of a package of measures making more use of the PND in identifying any risks officers could pose to the public.
This comes against a background of rising concerns about the failure of some police forces to ensure they are not appointing or retaining officers who could cause harm or indulge in inappropriate behaviour. There have been particular anxieties over the Metropolitan Police due to cases of sexual abuse and misconduct.
The PND contains intelligence and information including reports of domestic abuse, child abuse or neglect, crimes and police custody details. The NPCC said that all police staff records will be checked against the database by the end of March to identify anything that needs further investigation.
This will be followed up by the development of a platform for automated checks, work on which is already being led by Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, NPCC lead for prevention..
It will require technical changes in the PND and talks are ongoing with the Home Office as contract manager for the database.
Throwing out abusers
NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said: “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.”
So far there are no details of the timeline for the work.