Bichard issues database warning

Scottish and Northern Irish sexual offender databases are
incompatible with systems being developed by police in England and
Wales, Sir Michael Bichard has said.

Bichard, who chaired the inquiry into the murders by Ian Huntley of
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, warned in his final report
published last week that the English and Welsh system needed to be
developed to allow Scottish and Northern Irish police to access

However, he said neither the Scotland nor Northern Ireland police
forces had formerly committed to the scheme.

He called on the Scottish executive and Home Office to address this
urgently, and added that further work was needed to clarify how the
different systems would interface.

Without the two systems being compatible it is feared information
collated on those convicted or suspected of committing sexual
offences would not be passed between the different countries’
police forces.

Margaret McKay, chief executive of Scottish charity Children 1st,
said: “Sharing information is obviously vital to keep children safe
– abuse does not stop at the border. It is common sense then for
information to be available to share across the UK.”

  • Report available from

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