New IT systems worries police

Some forces have voiced their concern that the axing of a key stage of the Impact national intelligence sharing system will waste millions of pounds in resources.

Mar 22, 2007
By David Howell
Picture: South Central Ambulance Service

Some forces have voiced their concern that the axing of a key stage of the Impact national intelligence sharing system will waste millions of pounds in resources.

These concerns come after the news that Cross-Regional Information Sharing Project (CRISP) may have to be cancelled due to financial problems. The chairman of the IMPACT intelligence-sharing project has written to all chief constables warning them of the possibility. The Home Office has also stated that the IMPACT project itself – of which CRISP is the second phase – is also under review. Procurements for the £50m CRISP project were halted earlier in the month.

CRISP is only one component of the £367m IMPACT program that was instigated after the Bichard Inquiry recommended that information sharing should be a ‘national priority’ for all forces. Funding issues with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) that will operate all central IT projects when it takes over from PITO next month is one of the causes behind the possible cancellation of the CRISP project.

Superintendents’ Association president Rick Naylor told computing.co.uk: “It is difficult to quantify local investment because it varies between forces. But it will be a significant figure, in money and time and goodwill, and the police service will feel badly let down.”

The waste of time, effort and money that some forces have expressed their concerns about is not supported by the Home Office that said that any decisions about CRISP would not affect the upgrade to the Police National Database (PND) that is progressing in parallel.

Ovum analyst Georgina O’Toole said: “It is about getting force data in order and that will still be necessary for the PND. The main effect of the changes will be on the timing of the search capability being available to officers.”

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