A new approach to police ICT

A police-owned and police-led ICT company will be established by 2012 to provide vital services to UK-wide police forces and law enforcement agencies.

Technology and information are two of the most important weapons used by the police in their fight against crime. How they buy and manage them is critical to success.

The new company will be independent from the Home Office, and will be responsible for the procurement, implementation and management of complex IT contracts. It will ensure a more commercial and efficient approach to police ICT (information and communication technologies) provision, using economies of scale and market forces to save public money.

Professionally managed

The Home Office has set up a programme team to design and build this new company. The team will also ensure that in-house IT services currently supplied by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) will be professionally managed after the NPIA closes in 2012. When the company's new owners take control, their role will be to develop a sustainable customer base.

The company owners will also decide terms of remuneration and conditions of employment for staff and will have the ability to carry forward gains and losses from one year to the next. We expect the company to possess the main features of a private sector organisation in that it will be able to raise private capital and quote fixed prices to customers for long-term contracts. This is all intended to free up chief officers from having to spend so much time on ICT while ensuring better systems and value for money.

The three aims of the company are to:

  • improve the value for money that the police receive from their spending on ICT services
  • enable greater innovation in police ICT so that operational officers have access to the best of new technologies
  • free-up chief officers from in-depth involvement with ICT management

Police-led, police-owned

The company will be police-led. Chief officers, who are responsible for operational crime fighting, will have a fundamental interest in the company as its key customers – so they, not government, determine what they need and how they use it. The company will be created so that it can offer tailored solutions to meet the local needs of individual forces. In short, their demands will shape service provision.

The company will be police-owned. The current police authorities, and later elected police and crime commissioners, will collectively own the company and appoint a management team. This will exploit the purchasing power of the police service as a whole, as well as referencing that of central government, to get a good deal for the taxpayer.

The company will be staffed by ICT professionals, who will have the expertise to negotiate and manage large contracts and provide police forces with world-class advice and support.

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