HL Deb 21 April 1998 vol 588 cc197-8WA
Lord Marlesford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they provide police forces in the United Kingdom with on-line access to computer-held information on the location of prisoners serving sentences in Her Majesty's prisons in England and Wales; and, if not, when they expect to be able to do so. [HL1462]

Lord Williams of Mostyn

The Inmates Information System used by Her Majesty's Prison Service in England and Wales was designed over 10 years ago. Technical and security considerations prevent it from being readily integrated with existing police systems and networks. On-line access from police forces is not available but a Prisoner Location Service is provided to police forces which allows enquiries to be made through a central telephone contact point. Consideration is being given to a trial of on-line access from one or more police sites to evaluate the potential operational benefits.

Work is currently under way on a project that will lead to the complete replacement of the current system. It is a requirement for this system that links will be provided to and from the other criminal justice agencies, including police forces. The Prison Service is working closely with other criminal justice agencies in developing criteria for this new system. Significant development work will be required to implement these links and a precise date for its availability cannot be determined at this stage. The earliest likely date for full operational use is 2001.