The Home Office is currently delivering the National Law Enforcement Data Programme. This is designed to bring together data from the Police National Computer (PNC) and intelligence data from the Police National Database (PND), to provide a consolidated view of these national records.
The programme is borne out of the need to modernise, upgrade and amalgamate these two systems. The aim is that this will result in joined up information for Law Enforcement and other agencies, when required and where this is proportionate. The Home Office aim is for this to improve crime prevention to better protect the public. The system will be known as LEDS (Law Enforcement Data Service).
Home Office Biometrics (HOB) is another Programme with the responsibility to provide biometrics related services to a wide range of Home Office and government users. This currently includes Departments and agencies involved in immigration and law enforcement. HOB’s work supports identification services, crime scene investigation, visa applications, passport applications, border control and counter-terrorism (for Immigration, Borders, Passports and Law Enforcement). The IT systems already in scope in the HOB Programme that provide such biometric services are: the IDENT1 (Law Enforcement and Security Biometrics System); Immigration and Asylum Biometrics System (IABS) and the National DNA Database (NDNAD).
What are the aims?
The purpose of our work on this project is to establish a productive space where the Home Office and civil society organisations (CSOs) working on issues related to the PNC and PND and Biometric identification, can have constructive conversations about the implications of the programme.
If successful, the proposed process will contribute to:
- Effective civil society input into the safeguards to be used when combining the PND and PNC data-sets and the future use of data, including biometric data, by the Home Office and law enforcement communities;
- The development of a more robust assessment of the implications on public privacy through the use and storage of this data;
- Input to shape the code of practice for this new system from participating CSOs on the use and storage of the public’s data;
- The development of an ongoing process of collaboration between the Home Office, CSOs and organisations from other sectors.
What are we doing?
This work is being delivered through ongoing workshops. Each workshop will provide CSOs with the opportunity to discuss and deliberate over the various stages and impacts of the National Law Enforcement Data Programme and Home Office Biometrics work.
The process will feed into the future iterations of a Data Privacy Impact Assessments for both areas of work. These will feed into the development of the mitigating steps and governance frameworks in place for these programmes to protect the public’s data and privacy.
The aim is that the engagement with civil society will then continue, to allow ongoing input into Law Enforcement data programmes.
The first workshop was held in July 2018 as an introduction and road mapping session for the rest of the process. The second workshop was held in October 2018 exploring areas such as the governance of the system, a demonstration of some concept capabilities of the new system and conversations around data inspection and sharing.
The next two workshops were in December 2018 and February 2019 looking at Custody Image retention, the Code of Practice for the LEDS, further governance discussions and an outline of the work delivered by the Home Office Biometrics Programme.
Baroness Williams, Countering Extremism Minister Responsible for Home Office Data Strategy and Biometrics & Identity attended the workshop in December 2018 to explain the importance of the Open Space to the shaping of Home Office policy around this area. Future conversations are planned with the Minister as the process develops too.
Workshops in the financial year 2019/20 will be held every two months with the first one in May 2019.