David Westwood, the Chief Constable of Humberside has been suspended and is being put under pressure to resign by the Home Secretary David Blunkett following the description of the failings in his department being decribed in the report by Sir Michael Bichard as "systemic and corporate".
Our view is that exactly the same words apply to the shoddy performance of the Home Office, and therfore of the Home Secretary David Blunkett himself.
The Bichard report finds it "astonishing" that there is no National Intelligence computer system which allows the sharing of intelligence data between the 43 English Police forces, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the 8 Scottish Police forces, Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, the UK Atomic Energy Police, the Ministry of Defence Police, the British Transport Police, and the Security Services.
Given the billions of pounds of taxpayers money which has already been spent on Police and Criminal Justice communications and information technology systems, the general public should be asking why it is necessary to introduce, in a hurry, Yet Another Centralised Computer Database System (IMPACT - Intelligence Management Prioritisation Analysis Co-ordination and Tasking) and Yet Another Interm Centralised Computer System (PLX - Police Local Exchange) as reccommended by the Bichard report, and accepted by the Home Secretary.
Who exactly will be running these new national databases ? Where are the safeguards and complaints procedures which would allow individuals (including teachers and police officers, who are often subjected to false allegations) to have any libellous or innaccurate rumours , allegations or other "soft intelligence" expunged or corrected before it is passed on to potentially thousands of civil servants and others ?
Remember that although IMPACT and PLX are being set up in a panic after a child murder case, they are not restricted to child sex allegations, they will include rumours and allegations of any "soft intelligence" nature. There are other national database plans afoot in the Children Bill possibly along the lines of the Reducing Youth Offending Generic Solution (RYOGENS) project.
What were the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) set up for if not to tackle exactly these problems ? They seem to have failed or to have been diverted into other political agenda.
If the CRB system had been designed to work properly, rather than to pump profits into the oustsourced government IT supplier, and if it had been made a priority to input and check data entered onto the Police National Computer (PNC) swiftly and accurately, then there would be no need for Sir Michael Bichard to make the dubious and impractical reccomendation about Yet Another Biometric Identity Card scheme for those people who work with children. Who exactly is going to fund the secure biometric smart card reader infratructure for every sports club , scout group, church or voluntary organisation ? The sums already do not add up for the infrastructure needed in every Gpvernment office and Police station for the compulsory National Identity Register centralised database and Biometric Smart ID Card beiing touted in the Draft ID Card Bill.
Neither the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) , nor the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) nor the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO), nor Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) nor Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulory for Scotland (HMICS) have succeeded in establishing common systems and standards, guidance and training, throughout the United Kingdom - they have neither the power nor the budget to do so.
This National, Systemic and Corporate Failure is entirely due to the budgets and priorities which have been set by the Home Secretary David Blunkett, who is more culpable than any individual Chief Constable.
By spinning the blame onto David Westwood, the Chief Constable of Humberside, presumably David Blunkett hopes that the media and the public will overlook his department's appalling record on information technology projects.
This is in addition to Home Secretary and the Home Office apparatniks mismanagment of Immigration and Asylum policies, their ineffective and counter productive policies on Terrorism, and their continual threats to civil liberties, through ever more bureaucratic red tape and badly draughted, yet incredibly complicated legislation, which seems to be a substitute for sane, technologically aware policies: Trust Us - We Know What Is Best For You.
Perhaps they should actually read the detail of the European Union Constitution Charter of Fundamental Rights