A police-owned company will be set up to reform the forces’ ICT systems, the Home Secretary Theresa May has said.
In a speech to police officers in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, May called the way the police currently managed ICT "confused, fragmented and expensive".
"Good ICT systems and services are vital for modern policing," May said. "ICT supports the police on the front line, through items like portable radios and PDAs."
She went on to say that the police currently spend "some £1.2 billion per year on ICT".
"That is a very large sum. I wouldn’t be concerned about the size of that sum if I were convinced that it represented good value for money. But it does not," May said.
She went on to describe the failings of the current system, calling it "broken", with 5,000 staff working on more than 2,000 different systems across 100 data centres.
"One supplier now has over 1,500 contracts across all the forces. This would simply never happen in the commercial world," May said.
The Home Secretary said that the new ICT system would be police led, as they know better than government and civil servants what ICT systems are required to fight crime.
May said that the new company would be set up in the first half of 2012.
"The new company must exploit the purchasing power of the police service as a whole. It can do this by aggregating the requirements of as many forces as possible, preferably all 43 forces," she said.