Holmes 2 features a "casualty bureau" for managing information following major incidents. A spokesman for the Police IT Organisation (Pito) explained, "Holmes 2 lets you take the information from a disaster and convert it into an enquiry." He confirmed that Scotland Yard is using the facility in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the US.
The system replaced the original Holmes (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System), and has been described by Pito officials as "a vital weapon in the analysis of information collated during large investigations".
The casualty bureau was also used as part of the investigation into last year's Stansted airport hijack - the longest-running hijack on UK soil.
Holmes 2 is currently being used by 36 of the UK's 53 police forces. The remaining 17 forces are expected to migrate to it by the end of 2002. The system, which was jointly developed by Pito and Unisys, has now been accredited under the National Strategy for Police Information Systems.
Originally set up following the Yorkshire Ripper enquiry in the 1980s, Holmes was designed to replace manual methods of crime reporting and enable police forces to share information more effectively.