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Ello ello ello: Bungling Met cops blew £100m on failing tech wheezes

Some 37 IT projects were marked for the chop in force's 'project cull'

Exclusive The Met Police has admitted to having spent more than £100m on 37 technology projects that have been either stopped or need to be "corrected" as part of its "project cull" strategy.

Of 147 live technology projects at the Met, 20 projects worth £24m have been stopped and 17 more, worth £83m, have been identified as needing "corrective action", according to a response from the Mayor of London seen by The Register.

That action was taken under the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime “Project Cull” programme.

Since the question was put to the Mayor, the force's contract for a £90m command-and-control system for handling 999 calls has also been canned. That system was on the list of projects identified as needing to be “fixed”.

The Met refused to provide a cost breakdown for those projects, citing commercial confidentiality.

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the London Assembly Liberal Democrats who put the question to the Mayor, told The Register the Met has a poor track record with technology, which has held back officers' ability to tackle crime.

“However, it does appear that in a rush to catch up with years of neglect, some serious errors have been made in a number of procurement decisions, “said Pidgeon. “Attempting to hide the financial costs of contracts that have had to be fixed or culled is ultimately not serving the public. The Met will only start to make far better use of technology in the future if it comes clean over its past mistakes.”

The Met's list of stopped projects included its Analytics & Reporting system, the Intelligence & Investigative programme, and the Enterprise Resource Planning programmes, which are to be outsourced to the Cabinet Office's shared services centre with Steria.

However, of potentially greater concern are the 20 projects which have been identified as needing a fix.

These include the Met's Digital Recording of Suspect Interviews project, which the written response notes has an unclear data storage solution. The Met's Control Room project "has returned to the planning stage"; and its Covert Policing Management Platform needs a better understanding of investment and project management.

Back in 2013 a report found that the police's IT is "out-of-date, ineffective and expensive to maintain."

The Met is currently in the middle of its Total Technology Project infrastructure programme, which aims to cut its IT costs by £200m over three years.

However, the deputy commissioner of the Met Police, Craig Mackey, has acknowledged that the force's IT strategy, which includes slashing jobs in a mega-outsourcing deal with Steria, is not without risk.

The Register has contacted The Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime for a comment. ®

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