Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Police are planning to implement a shared ICT system using money from the Precursor Police Innovation Fund.
Last year, Policing minister Damian Green announced an innovation fund worth up to £50 million to incentivise innovation to improve effectiveness and efficiency of policing. Although the fund starts officially later this year, he introduced a £20 million precursor fund for 2013/14.
In a speech to the Police Innovation Fund bidders’ event this week, Green revealed that almost £2 million from the fund was given to the three East of England organisations to help them share services, which they estimate will save them up to £23 million over four years.
“A common ICT system is being introduced, which will allow more cross-border working between the three forces, improve communication with other parts of the criminal justice system and enable officers remote access to the data they need to do their jobs at the frontline,” he said
In a statement, Cambridgeshire Police said that the Innovation Fund money would help it roll out its IT initiative, dubbed Programme Metis, to Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
Programme Metis is a root and branch redesign of all force systems, processes and structures that focuses on using mobile technology to free up officers’ time. The ultimate aim is for the organisation to become paperless.
The police forces have a history of sharing services, with Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police sharing an ICT department since December 2010. In a range of joint efforts, all three forces have been sharing a procurement department since April 2011, and a major crime unit since April 2012.
In January 2013, the three forces backtracked on a plan to outsource IT and HR services to security firm G4S.
Meanwhile, other examples of police sharing IT include Northamptonshire and Cheshire Police, which have joined back office systems.