A key police intelligence sharing system is likely to be scrapped because of budgetary constraints, the head of the agency in charge of police IT strategy has warned.
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Peter Neyroud, chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, said the Cross Regional Information Sharing Project (Crisp), which was due to be implemented this summer as an interim system to help police forces share intelligence, would probably not continue.
Instead, the government is likely to focus resources on developing a Police National Database to share intelligence, which will not come into force until 2010.
"The Home Office is in an extremely difficult position, as am I, to meet the delivery of both the Police National Database and Crisp, given the current budget," said Neyroud.
Ministers are ultimately responsible for the decision on the continuation of Crisp, but Neyroud said that unless additional funding was found, the urgency to deploy the Police National Database would come at the expense of Crisp.
However, Neyroud said that efforts to standardise data in preparation for Crisp would not be wasted.
"The efforts forces have undertaken in formatting their data is not wasted as it will enable the transfer of information between forces far more seamlessly," he said.
The Bichard Inquiry of 2004 concluded that the 43 polices forces in the UK needed a uniform approach to the IT systems they use.
The NPIA in conjunction with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Association of Police Authorities (APA) will have the ability to make recommendations to ministers to make local forces adhere to national IT strategies. Ministers have powers to enforce recommendations in exceptional circumstances.
"This [power] is a weapon of last resort, and we will choose the things that matter when we need to use them," said Neyroud.
More about Crisp:
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