A new company has been set up to help police forces to improve their information technology and get better value for money from contracts.
The Police ICT Company is currently jointly owned by the Association of Police Authorities and the Home Office but will be handed over to police and crime commissioners following elections in November.
The company has been created to get better value for money for forces by offering access to better services and deals.
Nick Herbert, Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, said: ‘While some police IT is good, such as the new Police National Database, much of it is not. There are 2,000 systems between the 43 forces of England and Wales, and individual forces have not always driven the most effective deals.
‘We need a new, more collaborative approach and greater accountability, utilising expertise in IT procurement and freeing police officers to focus on fighting crime.
‘By harnessing the purchasing power of police forces, the new company will be able to drive down costs, save taxpayers’ money, and help to improve police and potentially wider criminal justice IT systems in future.’
Chairman of the Association of Police Authorities Councillor Mark Burns-Williamson said: ‘Better use of technology is vital when fighting criminal networks that have a sophisticated national and international reach.
‘The APA will work closely with the Home Office to ensure proper scrutiny of the new company so that the taxpayer gets value for money.
‘When the new system is handed over to police and crime commissioners we want it to be fit for purpose and efficient in delivering IT tasks.’
The new company will be responsible for providing strategic ICT advice and guidance to forces and the procurement, implementation and management of ICT solutions for forces.
Its aim is to free chief officers from in-depth involvement in ICT management and enable greater innovation so officers have access to new technology to save time and ensure better value for the taxpayer.
Police forces will be key to determining how the new company operates and what services it provides.