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The Metropolitan Police Service (Met) is set to spend tens of millions of pounds more than expected on its IT upgrade and is having to dip into its cash reserves to meet its commitments.
A London Evening Standard report said the Met will overspend by £30m, while also using £24m from its reserves.
According to the report, Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly member and a member of the police and crime committee, said: “The Met has a very long history of costly IT blunders, which have cost the public millions of pounds. It appears the mayor was duped by the Met’s forecasts, which were wildly optimistic in terms of the savings that new technology would make.”
The Met Police is not alone. In January 2016, Theresa May called on police forces to “exploit the potential of technology” and use it to drive efficiency and innovation.
Speaking at the Police ICT Company’s suppliers summit on 27 January, last year May said police IT needs “sorting out” and that it has taken too long to take that challenge seriously.
For example, in 2015, the Met was 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.
May said when the government came to power, police forces were spending £1bn a year on IT, with 2,000 different systems in 42 forces. She said this has improved with the spend on police IT in England and Wales coming in at around £600m in 2015/16.
To support police forces in their IT adoption, the Police ICT Company was launched in 2015 with a target to save police forces up to £465m a year through the central provision of national IT systems.