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500 IT jobs at risk from police budget cuts

Rebecca Thomson

The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) is considering cutting 500 jobs in police IT departments across the UK in an attempt to reduce its £1.4bn-a-year IT spend.

Deputy chief executive of the NPIA Nick Gargan said IT takes up too much of the police service's budget and laid out a range of measures that will be taken to reduce spending.

The NPIA hopes the ISIS project, which aims to introduce a national platform for police IT and end the use of different systems for each of the 43 forces, will save £200m a year by 2013-14. It also wants the Police National Database, which is currently being rolled out, to help save money.

Gargan said, "IT is frankly too expensive. It's wrong that we have 4,500 to 5,000 people in police IT roles. It's wrong that they are supporting 2,000 business applications and rely on 6,000 suppliers."

Possible measures to save money include:

  • Changes to national IT procurement to save £80m-£85m per year.
  • Restructure of police force departments. Gargan said, "If we can take around 500 people out of the staffing of police IT departments, this would save around £30m."
  • Decommission some local legacy systems. "Forces currently plan to spend £80m on intelligence systems. The Police National Database could replace some of these for a significantly lower cost, saving around £14m," said Gargan.
  • Move from divergent IT systems to convergence and a more simplified landscape, saving £10-12m
  • Build a national infrastructure to provide a common service, saving £28-30m.
  • Decommission national legacy systems, saving £15-16m.

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