SIREN covered crime, case, intelligence and custody technology improvements and according to the auditors had cost £14.86m so far until it ended.
According to Grant Thornton, although it found the decision to terminate the ICT project “reasonable,” this is only in the context of an exit strategy.
Concerns about the SIREN programme arose when delays were encountered and external and strategic considerations had to change.
“SIREN was an ambitious project that was fully supported by the Police Authority at the time,” claimed Paul Grady, director and head of Police sector assurance at Grant Thornton.
“It was evident from our review that the staff of the Force and the Authority were genuinely striving to improve their business for the overall benefit of the public.
“It is also clear that the decision to terminate the project was supported by a number of external contributory factors that did not exist, and could not have been envisaged, at the outset,” he added.
The report claims that there were “significant weaknesses” in the managing arrangements for the project that ultimately led to delays, difficulties and overruns.
It adds that the “ambitious vision” was not matched with the skills and experience Surrey has available during SIREN’s life span.
“There was a significant amount of public money spent, albeit over a number of years, on developing the projects, which ultimately wasn’t implemented. This is of course a matter of regret to us,” claimed Surrey Chief Constable Lynne Owens.
“The problems that arose in the Force’s handling of the SIREN project are not endemic, and the audit states Surrey Police has a proven record of successfully delivering change.
“However, we are not complacent and are continually improving how we deliver and govern change to ensure that spend is prioritised on supporting operational policing,” she added.