Over-budget £39m Hampshire police system cannot yet take 999 calls

A DELAYED multimillion-pound IT system designed to ‘transform’ the way people contact police still cannot yet take a 999 call.

By Ben Fishwick
Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 7:05 am

Nearly two years since it was due to go live across Hampshire and Thames Valley police forces the contact management platform is not fully operational.

Police bosses have refused to say how much the Microsoft-developed scheme has cost in total - but its budget has already rocketed from £27m to 39m.

Now The News can reveal the ‘massively complex’ system - which may be adopted by forces across England and Wales - has yet to take emergency calls.

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A police control room

Brought in to replace 20 existing systems, the ‘cutting edge’ it was due to be installed in January 2018, and go live in Hampshire in July of the same year.

Staff are able to record crime on the CMP after it was installed this July, but testing is ongoing for emergency calls.

Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance said: ‘This is an absolutely scandalous waste of taxpayers' money, that so far has done nothing to improve policing and make the streets safer.

Police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, Michael Lane. Picture: Sarah Standing (050319-2248)

‘Publicly funded IT projects seem to go hand-in-hand with failure, often caused by poor procurement and planning. Those responsible for this mess must be held to account and lessons must be learned.’

Police and crime panel member Trevor Cartwright said: ‘It’s a shame but hopefully what turns out from it should be excellent.’

Crime commissioners in Hampshire and Thames Valley have had to pump extra cash into the project at least three times.

Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane said: ‘The first phase of CMP’s implementation began in July and it is now live across all contact centres in Hampshire and Thames Valley.

‘The platform continues to receive positive feedback from officers and staff who are using it and we are now seeing the real benefits that CMP will deliver.

‘During this first phase of live usage, and the testing of the next phase, continued improvement of the core database has been ongoing to enable operational delivery to begin on the Isle of Wight.

‘Costs have been absorbed within the already allocated budgets.’

It is understood part of the problem is getting the system to work with another existing platform used to record details of crimes.

The control room can still take 999 calls.

In a joint statement both forces said: ‘Earlier in the summer, both forces started to use the CMP for the recording of crime.

‘This has since been rolled out further and is now being used in all contact centres and control rooms in Hampshire and TVP.

‘This means that all the CMP infrastructure is now in place and the platform is performing within the forces’ IT environment.

‘The response from the staff working on the new platform has been overwhelmingly positive - we are already seeing the benefits of this collaborated system and the unique synchronisation of the CMP with other key systems.

‘The next and final phase of implementation is to move to taking emergency calls and deploying officers through the CMP. This will follow after final performance testing is completed in the coming weeks.

‘We will release a final cost when the project is completed.’