IT priority for police Budget cash



Mike Simons

Home secretary Jack Straw has put IT at the heart of the £285m extra cash announced in last week's Budget to "build a...



Mike Simons

Home secretary Jack Straw has put IT at the heart of the £285m extra cash announced in last week's Budget to "build a modern crime fighting machine".

"Much of the criminal justice system still lacks a modern and integrated IT system," said Straw. "The Capital Modernisation Fund will help us put that right. Making information available electronically to all the criminal justice agencies will save time and money."

Police projects getting a cash boost from the budget include:

  • £40m for the National Strategy for Police Information Systems (NSPIS) programme - the core programme for developing common IT strategies and software across Britain's police forces

  • £25m for the establishment of a Government Technical Assistance Centre (GTAC) to act as a centre of excellence for decrypting files and communications intercepts.

  • £4.5m for the development of a standard approach to the electronic "chipping" of goods

  • £950,000 for a pilot of Project Lion, a London information project

  • £1.48m on IT interfaces

  • £14m will be allocated for the development of the DNA Database.

    Further spending will be agreed after discussions with the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities (APA), the Local Government Association and the police unions.

    Robin Wilkinson, policy director of the APA, said, "We welcome the new investment and the focus on IT, but not all the money announced has been allocated and we want more details on future spending before we can say whether it will meet our needs."

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