The police are to consolidate a number of their large databases into a single "platform" in order to "protect victims and spot potential links to other crimes."
The plans for a "National Law Enforcement Data Programme" were announced by the Home Office today and will bring together data from the Police National Computer, Police National Database and Automatic Number-Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems "onto a single platform."
However, last year the legality of the ANPR database – which collects a "record for all vehicles passing by a camera... including those for vehicles that are not known to be of interest at the time of the read" – was called into question by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. The National ANPR data centre now holds information on 22 billion car journeys.
Other measures contained within the Modern Crime Prevention Strategy (PDF) include an "explicit focus on data and technology" and the use of "predictive policing".
"In 2016, we intend to use criminality data to map criminal networks, and identify trends, patterns and relationships for further investigation," it said.
It noted "character", pooling and analysing data across different local agencies can help professionals identify and help people who are vulnerable or at risk. "Better analysis of digital images and geolocation tagging could help make the Criminal Justice System more effective at catching (and therefore deterring) criminals."
It said: "Finding and correcting weak spots in online banking systems will make fraud less profitable to organised criminals. Even for drugs and alcohol, drivers that are closely associated with ‘traditional’ crimes, we can make more information on alcohol crime hotspots available to the public online, or use freight targeting technology to stop drug shipments at the border."
Announcing the strategy, Home Secretary Theresa May said: "We need to recognise that the crime prevention challenge has evolved – we now need to prevent serious harm that happens inside victims’ homes, or to stop a cyber-criminal on the other side of the world from targeting thousands of people here with a single keystroke."
It also noted that members of the public have a responsibility to follow some basic rules to protect ourselves – choosing the more secure products, installing security software on all our devices, downloading software updates, particularly on our smartphones, and using strong passwords. ®