What is NABIS?
The National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) is tasked with gathering and disseminating fast time intelligence on the criminal use of firearms to the police service and partner agencies. One of its primary functions is to identify the types of weapons that are being used illegally and co-ordinating national activity to remove these weapons from circulation.
What does NABIS deliver?
- A compulsory registry of recovered firearms and ammunition used in crime, as well as recovered firearms and ammunition that enter police possession through any means. This Database provides strategic and tactical intelligence capable of focusing law enforcement activity.
- A Database that provides strategic and tactical intelligence capable of focusing law enforcement activity.
- An Operational Support unit which provides essential support to the other key NABIS functions by developing liaison opportunities between NABIS and its partners, delivering an integrated national communications and media strategy and capturing, developing and disseminating good practice in relation to gun crime.
For more information on the services provided by NABIS, please see the Criminal Use of Firearms Site on POLKA which can be found here.
In addition to providing links between firearms crimes, how else does NABIS aid investigators?
The NABIS Database allows analysis of all ballistic and intelligence submissions to develop tactical and strategic intelligence. This is developed by the NABIS Intelligence Cell into intelligence products that are disseminated by the National Intelligence Model NIM Tasking and Co-ordination processes at level 1 (to forces), level 2 (via Regional Intelligence Units (RIUs) and level 3 (NCA).
What is NABIS Forensic Services?
NABIS provides a dedicated forensic service to analyse ballistic material from across the UK. NABIS Forensic Hubs utilise cutting edge technology to connect incidents nationwide, where ballistic material has been recovered.
NABIS then shares the forensic analysis information, to create a national picture that links the criminal use of firearms across the country.
What is the NABIS Intelligence Cell?
The NABIS Intelligence Cell provides strategic and tactical intelligence associated with the criminal use of firearms in the UK. This takes the form of compiling information about people, objects, locations and events. This information is linked to gun crime incidents and ballistic items both contemporaneously and retrospectively on a daily basis. It is disseminated by way of intelligence packages which include narratives relating to the use of criminally held firearms.
What is NABIS Operational Support?
This element of the service provides support to NABIS centrally as well as police forces and law enforcement agencies involved in tackling the criminal use of firearms. Operational Support also helps to with legislative development and provides stakeholders and partners with a coherent and consistent approach to tackling gun crime through access to professional practical development and media support.
How do forces and law enforcement agencies send ballistic items to NABIS?
As part of the service provided by NABIS, all ballistic items that are being sent to one of the NABIS Hubs are collected from police forces. To ensure that the ballistic material is secure, police forces sort the items into security tagged boxes with paperwork lists of what is in each. Details of the material and the incident it was recovered from are entered onto the NABIS Database prior to it being sent to the hub. The boxes are then opened at the relevant hub and are checked against the paperwork before being examined.
Can the NABIS hubs provide trace evidence recovery (TER) services?
At present, only the Central and Scottish hub offer TER services. The provision of this service is available to forces, however, as it is not covered by the annual NABIS subscription fee, there is a charge to forces in England and Wales. There is no additional charge for TER services in Scotland as this is covered within forensic budgets.
Can I still obtain services from external forensic service providers, or do I have to send everything to the NABIS hub?
An SIO may decide that ballistic items need to be submitted to an external forensic service provider for evidential work. However, it is important to note that the Open Case Files are held at the NABIS hubs, therefore, firearm-to-scene and scene-to-scene ballistic links from previous shootings can only be provided by NABIS. Checking ballistic items against open case files can compromise trace evidence opportunities. Examinations to recover trace evidence should therefore be carried out prior to any open case file work in the NABIS Forensic Hub. Ballistic items which have been sent to an FSP must, on completion of examination be sent to a NABIS forensic hub to ensure central collation and management of intelligence. All ballistic items that meet the NABIS Submission Criteria should be submitted to NABIS Hubs as a matter of urgency.
Do you provide Remand Statements out of hours?
No. NABIS scientists are only able to provide remand statements during office hours. Out of hours services are provided by Forensic Service Providers or Force Armourers.
What are the Open Case Files (OCF)?
The Open Case Files (OCF) consist of bullets and cartridge cases recovered from crime scenes which have not been linked to a recovered weapon. The live open case files contain the physical exhibits relating to the last five years of ballistic material submitted to NABIS or to the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in preceding years.
Do the NABIS hubs work to the same standards as other areas of forensic science?
All NABIS hubs are accredited by UKAS to ISO 17025.
In what instances should I request the assistance of the SPA Firearms Unit?
The SPSA Firearms Unit should be contacted in all instances where a firearm has been discharged in Scotland. The Unit are available 24/7 to give advice on all firearms enquiries.
What is the NABIS Database?
The NABIS Database is a national system for the recording of gun crime incidents. The details of the incident are entered on the database along with information about the ballistic material that has been recovered. The information regarding these items is linked to other intelligence. All this information is accessible to the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) and the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) at the touch of a button.
Who has access to the NABIS Database?
Access to the Database is Restricted and users only have access to areas of the database where the information is relevant to their role.
What are inferred firearms?
An inferred firearm is created on the NABIS Database to illustrate the presence of a weapon that has been identified from recovered ballistic material however the firearm has yet to be recovered. This information is sent to forces where the inferred firearm has been identified, to enable them to know what firearms are being used in their force area.
What are police forces required to do for NABIS?
The NABIS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) places an obligation on police forces and law enforcement partners to ensure that all relevant ballistic material is submitted to NABIS Forensic Services as soon as practicable after it has been recovered. In addition it aims to ensure that police forces are responsible for putting the initial information onto the NABIS Database before sending the ballistic items to one of the NABIS Hubs. This includes information about the description of the material and how it was recovered, as well as people and Organised Crime Group information.
How will the MoU help NABIS?
A failure or delay in utilising the capabilities of the NABIS service could limit the effectiveness of local and national investigations into the criminal use of firearms with possible gun crime linkages remaining unknown and unexplored. The MoU places an obligation on police forces and law enforcement partners to ensure essential tasks are undertaken and completed for the benefit of law enforcement across the country.
What requirements does the MoU place on NABIS?
NABIS is currently required to deliver against its existing Service Level Agreement (SLA) regarding NABIS Forensic Services. Once the MoU is in force NABIS will also have to deliver management information relating to how a force or agency performs against the MoU.
Does NABIS work with international law enforcement partners?
Yes. NABIS works with international partners such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the United States as well as partners from across Europe and the world.
What Is The NABIS Collaboration Agreement?
In 2018 NABIS successfully completed their engagement with forces to finalise a national collaboration agreement with allof the police forces in England & Wales. This is the National Police Collaboration Agreement relating to the National Ballistics Intelligence Service under Section 22A of the Police Act 1996. The agreement sets out the legal framework for co-operation between NABIS and the police forces of England & Wales and details how NABIS is intended to operate in support of policeforces. A summary of the agreement is reproduced here. The full agreement is not published to protect sensitive operational detail, details of the summary are below:
Collaboration Agreement Summary
Intelligence Service – NPCC Service Provision
1. A collaboration agreement to set up and define the functions and responsibilities of the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).
2.In accordance with Section 23E of the Police Act 1996, this summary was prepared for publication on behalf of the Parties and contains summarised provisions in relation to scope and purpose, term, termination, direction and control, governance, funding and liabilities as deemed appropriate.
3.This agreement shall take effect from 28th June 2018 and shall continue in force until terminated in accordance with its terms.
4.The Chief Officer and Policing Body of a collaborating force may withdraw from this collaboration upon twelve months' written notice to the other Parties.
5.The Policing Bodies for each force shall be responsible for the governance of this collaboration and for holding to account the relevant Chief Officer for the discharge of functions by anyone who is acting under the terms of this collaboration agreement.
6.The Parties agree there shall be a NABIS Governance Board which shall consist of selected representatives from the Chief Officers and Policing Bodies of the collaborating forces or their nominated representatives under the terms detailed in the collaboration agreement.
7.The Governance Board will be responsible for the organisation, direction and management of the NABIS and will act in accordance with its agreed terms of reference.
8.The Governance Board will oversee the appointment of the Head of NABIS.
9.The Parties agree that NABIS will be funded by financial contributions from the collaborating Policing Bodies, such financial contributions being set out in the collaboration agreement.
10.The NABIS collaboration agreement does not involve the provision of staff or officers by one force to another force and each party's obligations shall be fulfilled by its own staff or officers. Accordingly, each Chief Officer continues to have direction and control over its own officers and staff.
11.To meet the requirement of its infrastructure and database, NABIS software and police data is hosted on the West Midlands and Greater Manchester Police (as lead forces) infrastructure and the parties have agreed specific provisions relating to the sharing of liability in the event of any breach of any related third party sub-contracts.
12.The provisions listed in paragraph 13 are contained within this agreement but their detailed publication is not deemed appropriate as either:
a.they are merely standard boiler plate clauses and are not considered controversial in any way; or
b.they contain sensitive operational or commercial information which it is not considered in the public interest to disclose.
13.List of other provisions:
Introduction and Legal Context
Definitions and Interpretations
Licence in relation to Premises
Limitations on Liability
Withdrawal and Termination
Consequences of Termination
Head of NABIS Responsibilities
Procurement of Licences and Services
Audit and Inspection
Freedom of Information
Common Policies and Procedures
Review and Variation of Agreement
Changes to Software
Representations and Warranties
Standard of Conduct
Intellectual Property Rights
Interest on Late Payment
Conflict of Interest
Public Interest Disclosures
Waiver of rights
Relationship of the Parties
Costs and Expenses
Third Parties and Successors
14. The Parties to this agreement are:
The Following Chief Officers·
The Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary
The Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police·
The Chief Constable of the British Transport Police
The Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary
The Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary
The Commissioner of Police of the City of London
The Chief Constable of Cleveland
The Chief Constable of Cumbria Constabulary
The Chief Constable of Devon & Cornwall Police
The Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary
The Chief Constable of Dorset Police
The Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary
The Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police
The Chief Constable of Essex Police·
The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary
The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police
The Chief Constable of Gwent Police
The Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary
The Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Constabulary
The Chief Constable of Humberside Police
The Chief Constable of Kent Police
·The Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary
·The Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police
The Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police
The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police
The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
The Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary
The Chief Constable of North Wales Police
The Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police
The Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police
The Chief Constable of Northumbria Police
The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police
The Chief Constable of South Wales Police
The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police
The Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police
The Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary
The Chief Constable of Surrey Police
The Chief Constable of Sussex Police
The Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police
The Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police
The Chief Constable of West Mercia Police
The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police
The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police
The Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police
The Following Policing Bodies
Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset
Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire
The British Transport Police Authority
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire
The Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as Police Authority
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria
Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon & Cornwall
Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham
Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys
Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex
Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire
Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester
Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside·The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk
Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales
Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire
Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales·
Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire
Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire
Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley
Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia·
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Midlands·
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire·
Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire
And The National Crime Agency
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