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Met Police forced to stick with ageing command and control system after project delays

The Metropolitan Police Service has been forced to stick with its 30-year-old command and control system for a further three years after problems with its replacement delayed plans to go live in October 2015

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is stuck with its 30-year-old command and control system for three more years after delays to the replacement system, which was due to go live in October 2015.

The Met signed a three-year extension with current provider Unisys in September 2015, Computer Weekly has learned, with sources suggesting that suppliers for the new system are demanding more money to complete the project.

The MPS went out to tender for a nine-year deal for a replacement command and control system in 2011, the first major change to the system for 30 years.

In 2013, it chose technology company Northrop Grumman as the supplier for the core application, and signed a £90m contract in 2014 with Lockheed Martin as systems integrator for the project.

The system was due to go live in October 2015. However, Computer Weekly understands that due to work with functionality and integration of the system taking longer than expected, the Met Police had to ask Unisys for an extension of the current contract, which was due to expire in November 2015.

Unisys and the Met both confirmed that a three-year extension for the system was signed in September 2015.

A spokesperson from the Met said the complexity of the programme is “set against a backdrop of shifting demands across a global city, and this makes it essential that we work ever closer with our trusted suppliers to make sure the functionality of the product meets the needs of the organisation and today’s London”.

The Command and Control Futures programme, which is part of the Met’s Total Technology IT strategy, will manage all incoming calls to police in London and the dispatch of officers dealing with emergencies.

The CommandPoint application from Northrop Grumman sits at the heart of the programme and aims to improve operational efficiency in the Met, which handles 12,000 emergency and 15,000 non-emergency calls a day.

Under its £90m contract, Lockeed Martin is leading the project, overseeing suppliers Capita and KPMG, which will implement the integration of new technologies into the system.

Computer Weekly understands that Lockheed Martin is working on getting the project back on track, and the company is also recruiting a project manager and a test engineer to work on the command and control systems contract. Another source suggested Northrop Grumman has had problems in customising the software.  

A Lockheed Martin spokesperson said that “although delays with some elements of the programme have impacted upon Lockheed Martin’s role as the systems integrator, we have been working closely with the Metropolitan Police and its suppliers to find systems that will enable a successful integration at the earliest possible opportunity”.

The Met spokesperson added that the scale and size of the integration task “is understood by all involved and our suppliers are capable of ensuring a successful integration to the Met IT infrastructure”.

One source suggested that the two suppliers have asked for more money to get the job done, but Computer Weekly has been unable to verify that information.

The original Unisys contract was extended in 2007, as the risk of moving to a new system before the London 2012 Olympics would have been too big. Northrop Grumman declined to comment on the situation.

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