Over-budget police 999 system set to cost extra £3m due to delay

Police and crime commissioner Michael Lane and chief constable Olivia Pinkney
Police and crime commissioner Michael Lane and chief constable Olivia Pinkney
The Navigator pub, Swanwick

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POLICE are forking out an extra £3m on a delayed and over-budget replacement system for 999 calls.

Forecasted extra costs in testing the new contact management system will bring the overall spend to £30m.

Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner signed off Hampshire’s £1.5m extra investment more than a month ago, but papers have only recently been published.

Figures show Hampshire and Thames Valley forces predicted a £3.2m overspend if the IT system was tested and rolled out by May-August.

The system, which is set to improve how 101 and 999 calls are handled, will launch in ‘late spring’.

A report, signed off by the commissioner Michael Lane, said the team behind the IT project had to ‘overcome significant technical challenges’ that have been ‘frustrating and time-consuming’.

Mr Lane’s spokesman said he had ‘challenged’ chief constable Olivia Pinkney on the extra money, but was ‘reassured (it) is necessary’.

It comes as around 162 specialist police are due to be cut to save £7m.

Chief Superintendent Christian Bunt said the project, called the Contact Management Platform, will be ‘cutting edge’ and has been developed by police and Microsoft. He said it will replace ‘outdated systems’.

He added: ‘As it is such a crucial system, we always knew it would need to undergo rigorous testing before the planned implementation date.

‘This involved integrating it with numerous other operational systems.

‘We cannot afford to take risks with something that is so fundamental to us delivering a service to the public, so when testing revealed that extra work needed to be done, our operational view was that the testing phase should be extended.’

If the system is rolled out earlier the projected, overspend will reduce.

More cash was needed as Fujitsu has been given a support contract. The system also needed fine-tuning and the old system will cost more to decommission.