Holmes solves case of missing thin client

Two Scottish police forces have successfully trialled a thin client version of Holmes 2, the system designed to help the police...

Two Scottish police forces have successfully trialled a thin client version of Holmes 2, the system designed to help the police manage major inquiries and incidents.

Northern and Fife Constabularies tested a Citrix thin client version of Holmes 2 that was developed by the Police Information Technology Organisation (Pito) and infrastructure provider Unisys.

Holmes 2 is the second generation of the original Home Office Large Major Enquiry System that was developed in the 1980s following experience from major crime enquiries like the Yorkshire Ripper case.

The thin client product is the first major development of the Holmes 2 package, which won full accreditation from Pito last September.

Detective chief inspector Roddy Ross, liaison officer for the Holmes 2 project said: "This solution offers considerable benefits, particularly for forces that had trouble running Holmes 2 on a wide area network."

The thin client approach reduces network traffic and allows Holmes 2 to be accessed via any PC connected to the network, rather than just designated terminals. It also offers built-in encryption and allows the force to make centralised software upgrades.

"Tests with the Northern Constabulary have produced dramatic performance increases," said Ross. "We are now getting good performance from some functions that were previously unusable at certain location."

The thin client solution will also increase flexibility for forces with high bandwidth networks, said Ross. "Many forces will use a thick client solution in their incident room, but this development offers them the flexibility to deploy a forward centre with good response times nearer the scene of an incident."

John Baker, Holmes 2 project manager at Fife Constabulary was pleased with the tests. "We deliver 95% of our applications via thin client and we always wanted Holmes 2 in a thin client version," he told CW360.com.

His requests for a thin client version were initially turned down last year when Unisys said it needed to concentrate on securing accreditation for the main product. However, Baker said he was pleasantly surprised that the company was able to deliver a thin client version for testing late last year.

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