Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have approved a proposal to establish a national Police ICT Company for the first time in a move that could ultimately save police forces a sum estimated to be up to £465m a year.
The company, which will be owned by Police and Crime Commissioners and other policing governance bodies, will support forces to unlock these savings by making the best use of technology to deliver efficient and effective policing in England and Wales. This will be done by providing a platform for coordinating and commissioning national systems and services where they are required, improving operational effectiveness and pursuing opportunities to maximise value for money.
Police and Crime Commissioners formed a Board, working alongside senior police officers and Home Office officials to review the requirements for a company before putting a proposal to the APCC General Meeting.
Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston, who chaired the Board, said, “The national Police ICT Company will create a much more commercially driven and strategic approach, supporting forces as they acquire and make the best possible use of technology. This is not about imposing a ‘one size fits all’ solution, but rather an agreed approach, which will enable the efficient development of new systems, in particular ensuring the effective flow of information between forces. It’s also essential that information can be shared not only with criminal justice agencies but also those other local partners with whom the police work to keep people safe.
“Nationally, more than a billion pounds is spent on police IT every year and some companies are selling the same products many times to different police forces. This is inefficient and expensive. More importantly, opportunities to share information effectively are being missed. Criminals do not respect police boundaries, and police technology must enable critical information to flow seamlessly from force to force.
“PCCs are bringing a clearer focus to this challenge and I am delighted that they have today taken the major step of approving the establishment of a national Police ICT Company.”