The FBI says it is set to roll out its N-DEx search engine and information sharing program to a wider swath of the federal, state and local law enforcement community.

The FBI has been developing N-DEx since 2008 and says that once this latest round of development is complete, law enforcement agencies will be able to search, link, analyse and share information such as case reports on a national basis to a degree never before possible, the agency stated.

According to the FBI: "This month's third and final phase will add probation and parole information to the database, as well as enhancements to some of its existing capabilities. And best of all, the N-DEx interface has been completely redone, giving it the look and feel of a commercial search engine, complete with filters and more streamlined result sets. Now, N-DEx will now be able to support 200 million searchable records, and with future modification, that number can readily increase to two billion records."

With the system, law enforcement officers will be able to search databases for information on everything from tattoos to cars, letting them link cases that previously seemed isolated. They will be able to see crime trends and hotspots, access threat level assessments of individuals or locations, and use mapping technology. N-DEx will help law enforcement connect dots and connect law enforcement agencies from coast to coast, the FBI stated.

Raytheon is the prime contractor for N-DEx and is helping the FBI develop and deploy the system nationwide.