Police IT specialists have won a £4m grant from the Government to roll out an extranet across the UK.
The extranet project, which will link police forces and criminal justice organisations, is one of 123 projects that won £60m in the third round of the Government's Invest to Save scheme.
The Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) will use its funds to roll out the Criminal Justice Extranet developed with Cable & Wireless that already connects 25 forces and the Crown Prosecution Service. PITO aims to introduce facilities such as e-mail addresses for the public to notify the police of minor crimes. While some forces will offer this in the next two months, the challenge for PITO is to ensure that police across the country provide the same standard of service.
"Some forces don't have a Web site yet and some don't accept e-mails. We have to corporatise the system so forces in Devon and Northumbria offer the same level of service," said chief inspector Bob Kerr of PITO.
The Government's Invest to Save Budget (ISB) supports projects that involve two or more public bodies aiming to provide services in a more efficient fashion.
Other projects awarded ISB grants include an initiative from the British Library and Public Records Office to create an online resource for schools and a scheme to introduce electronic imaging into the Department for Education & Employment.