Police IT agency signs £122m contract despite doubts over future


Police IT agency signs £122m contract despite doubts over future

Lindsay Clark

The Police IT Organisation (Pito) has signed an eight-year £122m contract with Northrop Grumman Corporation help police forces use biometric identification technology to fight crime.

The organisation co-ordinates and commissions national systems, but its future is under fundamental review.

Northrop Grumman will provide systems for the IDENT1 palm and fingerprint service that will allow the routine identification of suspects throughout the UK mainland.

Through IDENT1, Northrop Grumman will integrate and develop the successful automated fingerprint recognition services used by police in England, Wales and Scotland since 1991, Pito said.

PITO's Identification Programme will also use the IDENT1 platform to enable the development of further national identification services in partnership with the police service.

National palm print searching could make a considerable impact on crime investigation and detection as around 20% of all the marks obtained from crime scenes in the UK are from palms, Pito said.

The IDENT1 platform will in future be used for mobile fingerprint checking, facial imaging and video identification, according to Pito.

Pito’s lack of power over police forces’ budgeting and management has throughout its history hampered the creation of national systems and standards and resulted in a fundamental review of its operations and future.

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