Business case for technology overhaul to be put to authorities this week
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Police Scotland is to present a £298m plan to improve its IT systems to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) later this week.
The plan, to be presented to the SPA board on Thursday, will be a replacement for the failed i6 IT project, which was cancelled in 2016. While the new project will cost almost £300m over nine years, it is also expected to deliver £357m in benefits over the same period.
Unlike with the large-scale i6 project, the approach taken this time will be “modular” which is expected to reduce the risk of failure. The force is currently working on outdated IT systems that are not joined up and cannot be upgraded. Officers still use paper notebooks to record information and then have to go back to their stations to type up the information into multiple different systems.
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According to Police Scotland, the lack of up-to-date or joined up IT not only wastes time, but also means officers may go out to calls without full information about the circumstances, and makes data sharing with other agencies more difficult.
The IT upgrade forms part of a wider transformation strategy, Policing 2026, that is expected to deliver savings and increase capacity within the force, particularly in specialist areas such as cybersecurity and mental health.
Deputy chief constable Fiona Taylor said: “There has been significant under-investment in technology in policing since well before 2013 and we’ve not been able to make use of some of the investment that has been available. Despite this, our officers and staff have continued to deliver to the best of their ability by making huge personal commitments to get the job done. But the present situation is unsustainable.”
She added: “The pressure on our officers and staff to work around the failings in our technology and meet the new threats will move beyond their ability to cope. It also has a detrimental impact on the public and our colleagues in other parts of the criminal justice system. At a time when the pressure on public services is immense, we are operating an economically inefficient police service.”