Home Affairs Committee slams police IT plans

The Home Affairs Committee has expressed serious concerns over the privatisation of police IT procurement

The Home Affairs Committee has expressed serious concerns over the privatisation of police IT procurement.  

Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, said in a report: "Serious concerns remain over the process of procurement. The committee believes moves towards greater private-sector involvement are being taken without clarity over their scope."

The comments come as police insiders say plans to dissolve the National Policing Improvement Agency and form a private sector company remain uncertain.

The committee said the £5m joint outsourcing exercise between Surrey and West Midlands Police lacked clarity. The committee was not convinced that the forces fully understood, or were fully able to articulate the process they were undertaking, said the report.

"The Home Office must ensure it knows what services local forces wish to contract out, before agreeing to allow expenditure of £5m on what is little more than a fishing expedition," said Vaz.

The Home Office also expressed concern about the progress of the e-Borders programme and the lack of clarity over plans to introduce privatisation into policing.

The e-Borders programme has proved problematic since it began in 2003. Despite the letting of new contracts to Serco and IBM in preparation for the London Olympics, the committee remains concerned about the progress of the e-Borders programme, which has now been undertaken by successive governments, said the report.

 "The e-Borders programme, which has resulted in the loss of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money, highlights the need for procurement to be carried out correctly and to include clear goals for private sector companies. It remains a huge disappointment that e-Borders is not fully in place in time for the Olympics," said Vaz.

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