Better search for HOLMES announced

The Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES) has been used by the police since 1986 to record all major incidents including serial murders, multi-million pound fraud cases and major disasters.

Jan 12, 2006
By David Howell

The Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES) has been used by the police since 1986 to record all major incidents including serial murders, multi-million pound fraud cases and major disasters.

However, searching this legacy database to establish any common links with current investigations can be very time consuming for investigating officers.

Memex has announced a new product called HOLMES Interrogator. Based on Memex search technology, this ‘plug and play’ solution enables users to search the entire contents of HOLMES and HOLMES 2 cases for the first time. Using this solution provides the police with a very quick and simple way of interfacing with a legacy system that has been in place for 20 years. No upgrade or transfer of the information into a new system is necessary, which would be a very costly and time consuming process.

With HOLMES Interrogator, searching is as simple as using Google. It allows the police to find names, vehicles, MOs, locations and much more regardless of the spelling and where in the database the terms have been entered. By allowing the police to search many cases at once, and cross-reference cases to identify any common links, time and money will be saved by the new system.

One police force already signed up to the system is Greater Manchester. They currently need to search over 350 closed HOLMES and HOLMES 2 cases. Using HOLMES Interrogator enables their users to identify every possible combination that might return a positive hit for the required query term.

John Low, business development manager for law enforcement at Memex, commented:

“Memex is the only one in the marketplace to provide such a tool. Our company ethos has always been that the smallest, most insignificant piece of data today may be hugely important in cracking a case tomorrow. We recognise that data systems are fed by human beings. People make mistakes, and have differing views on how to spell common words! At Memex we aim to address the issue of data quality and cleansing through our sophisticated search tools, removing the opportunity for human error.”

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