Police ICT procurement remains a huge challenge and will take a lot more “gritty and unglamorous” work to fix.
This is the perhaps stark warning from the Home Secretary Theresa May - who made the statement despite having been in power for four years and so presumably in charge of improving the situation in all that time.
May made the assessment during a speech this week to right-of-centre think tank Reform, with the Tory politician told her audience that procurement for ICT was a “pitiful joke” in 2010, down to an annual billion pound spend on what she characterised as “inadequate” technology spread across 2,000 disparate systems in 100 different Force data centres.
“We've got on with the gritty and unglamorous work of sorting out police procurement,” she claimed, before adding: “We've still got a long way to go [and] Police ICT is going to take a long time to fix — but we are at least on the way.”
May added that procurement was still not standardised across the UK’s crime fighting sector in many areas, not just in tech: “The prices Forces are paying for items like boots and handcuffs still varies enormously.”
She also called for more aggressive take up by UK bobbies of new technologies such as body-worn video, smartphone apps and other mobile devices in order to save time and improve outcomes, as well as repeating the Coalition's aspiration of making all UK police 48 Forces “fully digital” by 2016.
Example of current major Police ICT investment includes the £1.5bn new Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-emergency-services-mobile-communications-programme), set to start operating in 2017.
May also promised Home Office action on mobile phone theft.”
Representatives of the UK smartphone industry and the Cabinet Office are to collaborate on ways to make handset theft less attractive, she said, the Home Office will continue work to stop the reactivation of phones overseas - killing criminal gang’s export “markets.”