Bid to prevent a repeat of Soham

Undated handout photo of Holly Wells (left) and her best friend, Jessica Chapman, both 10.  Builders were, Saturday April 3, 2004, due to begin demolishing the house where school caretaker Ian Huntley murdered schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. See PA Story CRIME Soham.  PA Photo.

Undated handout photo of Holly Wells (left) and her best friend, Jessica Chapman, both 10. Builders were, Saturday April 3, 2004, due to begin demolishing the house where school caretaker Ian Huntley murdered schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. See PA Story CRIME Soham. PA Photo.

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A NEW police database has been launched which will allow South Yorkshire officers to quickly share information on crimes with other forces.

The database has been brought in following an inquiry into failings in police intelligence sharing which led to the 2002 murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, Cambridgeshire.

Police failed to disclose details of allegations against school caretaker Ian Huntley a year before he killed the two 10-year-olds.

The Police National Database brings together 150 separate computer systems, with intelligence from the 43 forces in England and Wales.

It copies existing intelligence and information from police forces’ systems, allowing officers to search for suspects, vehicles, locations and other information held across the country.

The 43 forces hold information on up to 15 million people, including convicted criminals, suspects and victims of crimes, as well as details of people who have been questioned but not charged.

Chf Supt Steve Talbot, head of specialist crime services for South Yorkshire Police, said: “The database will give us direct access to information held by other forces across the country in a standardised format.

“As well as protecting children, we see this as a tool to tackle organised crime and prevent terrorism and these are the three areas we shall be prioritising.”

The database is run by the National Policing Improvement Agency and funded by the Home Office.

Only specially authorised and vetted users will have access to the system.