The national Police ICT Company (PICT) finally became operational today, after Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) voted to give it the go-ahead last month.
It has taken 32 months to get the company into a shape all 43 PCCs could agree on as a result of personnel changes, the complexity of the scheme and the fact Home Office plans were ‘undeveloped’ when handed over to PCCs, a source close to the project told ComputerworldUK.
The company aims to provide an overall IT strategy for police IT, oversee national requirements, improve collaboration, integration and harmonisation between systems and drive better deals with suppliers.
PICT’s website launched and its board of directors was confirmed today. The company is currently seeking to recruit a chief executive to help it grow “into a significant national organisation”.
The successful candidate will need the skills to combine “a drive towards long-term vision whilst delivering immediate benefits to forces”, PICT’s chair, Essex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Nick Alston, said.
PICT is subject to significant political uncertainty, as both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have promised to scrap PCCs if they form a government after the general election due in six weeks’ time.
The company board is led by Nick Alston, with South Wales’ Labour PCC Alun Michael and Gloucestershire’s independent PCC Martin Surl also sitting.
Other board members include Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, British Transport Police Authority chair Millie Banerjee, chair of the CIO Council Steve Deakin and Mike Barton, Durham’s chief constable.
The new website explains the role of the company and provides all police technology standards in one place, although it will be developed over the coming months based on feedback from policing and commercial sectors.
It was set up by the Metropolitan Police Service with help from PICT and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.
Alston said: “Since approval was given to establishing the company work has continued apace and I am delighted that it is now operational. This is the first official step on the road to supporting law enforcement agencies to make the best use of technology to deliver efficient and effective policing in England and Wales.
“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,” he added.