Extra £7m bill for police as new contact system delayed for a year

A DELAYED computer system is set to cost £12m more than budgeted and will be a year late.

Hampshire police and Thames Valley police forces' contact management system has been hit by a series of delays.

Yesterday it emerged it was set to be put back for a third time.

Another £7m has been assigned to the project, bringing it £12m overbudget in all.

Initially it was set to cost £27m, before that previously increased to £32m.

In a joint statement, chief constable Francis Habgood from Thames Valley and chief constable Olivia Pinkney from Hampshire, said: ‘This decision has come as a result of significant discussion and expert assessment.

‘We are all keen to reap the benefits of CMP but we cannot compromise the safety of the public, officers and staff by rushing this.

‘We remain confident in the reliability of our current systems and processes and the specialist capabilities of our staff and officers to meet the needs of the public we serve.’

The long-planned new system will replace 20 computer systems, police said.

A previous report by Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane said the team had to ‘overcome significant technical challenges’ that have been ‘frustrating and time-consuming’.

The system has previously been described as ‘cutting edge’ despite the delays.

Microsoft has been working with the two police forces on the project.

Earlier this year Mr Lane said the IT system was being tested ahead of its launch.

Top officers hope it will improve how people can report crime but that it will also link up with how control room staff allocate resources.

The chief constables’ join statement added: ‘Every day in policing we make risk based decisions for the protection of the public and our people and our approach to our technology programmes is no different.

‘We have been clear from the start that we will not introduce the system until it has been rigorously tested and is fully operational.’

The Thames Valley police and crime commissoiner has allocated £4m to the project.

Anthony Stansfeld said: ‘I am supportive of the rigorous approach.’