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Police ICT company finally lurches off the ground

Fill your boots guys as it could be scrapped after the election

After a four-year gestation period, the body intended to help UK coppers better splash their £1bn a year in tech spend – the Police ICT Company – has finally got off the ground.

The Association for Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) has approved the proposal first made by Home Secretary Theresa May in 2011 to establish the body, which the government estimates could save £465m a year.

However, both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have expressed a desire to scrap PCCs due to a low turnout in elections and controversy over the way some PCCs have behaved.

This could mean the the Police ICT Company will be a short-lived entity, as it is jointly owned by the ACCP.

Nick Alston, Essex Police and Crime Commissioner and chair of the Police and Crime Commissioners PICT review board, said:

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.

During 2012/13, the ACCP became joint owners of the Police ICT Company, along with the Home Secretary. The body's predecessor – the National Police Improvement Agency – was closed on 7 October 2013.

In a speech last month, May said: "The Police ICT Company is owned by PCCs, and must be led by them. So it is now up to PCCs to make the company work for them, and the police forces that they serve." ®

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