Forces urged to sign national contracts

5 February 2010

5 February 2010 | Gareth Mytton

Police in England and Wales should use more national contracts to save millions of pounds over the next four years, according to a review.

The High level working group report on police value for money, published this week by a group of police authorities, said increased collaboration would help meet the £545 million savings target set out in last year’s white paper, Protecting the public: Supporting the police to succeed.

The latest review was carried out by the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities, the National Policing Improvement Agency and the Home Office. It identified vehicles, body armour and “e-forensics” – the technology to extract evidence from computers, mobile phones and other digital equipment – as suitable for national contracts.

But it said forces should be able to challenge these deals if they can find greater value for money elsewhere. “Such challenges, where they are successful, may lead to changes to improve the existing champion for the benefit of the service.”

The report said a framework agreement for vehicles, which is currently under development, is expected to save £14 million a year. A contract for body armour, due for award in April, is set to save at least 3 per cent on a £20 million annual spend.

An e-forensics contract, which will be in place by April 2012, “will offer savings over existing individual force arrangements, but it is too early to quantify them”, said the report.

Other future contracts for police services include national deals for mobile phones and BlackBerry devices, as well as regional contracts for construction and facilities management.

The white paper suggested the police could also save £200 million a year on its IT spending under the Information Systems Improvement Strategy.

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