People reading this blog, probably know that ICT has something of a chequered history in the police services: there are stories of large investments leading to negligible improvements in outcomes or (of course) systems that fail to join up not only across from one police service to another but even within a single force. So what has happened to the police ICT company that was being established some months ago (the offspring of PETO/NPIA/HomeOffice etc) which was designed to tackle all these and other problems...?
I note that Damian Green did not mention the new Police ICT company in his speech to the Police Innovation Fund bidders' event earlier this month. The page dedicated to describing the policy to establish an ICT company was last updated in March last year. And if you search on > "Police ICT company" news < most of the results date back 2 or 3 years.
Hansard (via theyworkforyou) is not much more use. The most recent note (12/2/14) that I can find is in a contribution to a debate on "Housing Benefit and Universal Credit in the Social Housing Sector (Regular Payments): Police" where David Ruffley said:
In addition, Ministers have created something that was long overdue and which the Labour party had 13 years to create; a police ICT company that has offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy police technology in a joined-up way, so that we do not have 42 forces doing their own thing and wasting money, with interoperability being limited and the power of bulk purchasing completely ignored.Which is fine as an assertion but where & when exactly is this "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy police technology in a joined-up way" happening?
And in June last year, Tom Watson asked "the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to make the Police ICT company subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000". The Police Minister, Damian Green replied:
The Police ICT company as it is currently constructed is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Act applies to “public authorities”, which includes “publicly-owned companies” as defined in section 6. The Police ICT company does not fall within the relevant definition because it is not wholly owned either by the Crown, or any other body which is subject to the Act.I am reminded of Macavity...
Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw—So what is happening to the Police ICT Company?
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime—Macavity's not there!
Does anyone know?