The Home Office is to launch a new procurement company next spring to help slash the £1.2bn that UK police forces collectively spend on IT each year.
Home secretary Theresa May outlined the plans at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Summer Conference yesterday.
In an address to attendees, May said the company will centrally manage IT procurement for the UK's 43 police forces.
"The new company must exploit the purchasing power of the police service as a whole [and] it can do this by aggregating the requirements of as many forces as possible – preferably all 43," said May.
She revealed that Gordon Wasserman, the government's policing and criminal justice adviser, will have the task of guiding its creation.
"The company should be police-led, as no one else knows what ICT systems the police need to fight crime, [and] needs to be staffed by ICT professionals," she said.
"Police officers are the best in the business at catching criminals. They are not the best in the business at negotiating contracts for major ICT systems or managing these systems once they are up and running," she added.
These IT professionals need to be "hard headed", because they will be responsible for negotiating with some of the world's largest companies.
"[The company] will be negotiating and managing contracts worth many billions of pounds, [so] this is not a job that can be given to amateurs who have a flair for computing," explained May.
During the speech, she also described the £1.2bn paid out by the UK's police forces as poor value for money.
"The way we do things now is confused, fragmented and expensive," said May. "We know that one supplier has more than 1,500 contracts across all the forces.
"Across the police service there are about 5,000 staff working on more than 2,000 ICT systems, across 100 datacentres, [and] this is clearly not sensible," she added.
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