Police purchasing deal saves millions on IT

10 June 2011

10 June 2011 | Angeline Albert

UK police forces have saved £6 million as a result of an IT framework deal negotiated by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).

The news comes as home secretary Theresa May this week told MPs in the House of Commons that some of NPIA’s functions will be transferred to the National Crime Agency (NCA) which will be established by 2013. It is not clear whether procurement will be one of those functions. 

Around £10-12 million a year is spent by forces via an IT framework agreement, which was negotiated by the NPIA in 2009. The framework with Siemens Enterprise Communications enables forces in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales buy IT hardware, software and maintenance support to link to the Identity Access Management (IAM) system which ensures only authorised police officers and staff gain access to secure national police databases.

The deal also enables forces to buy equipment such as smartcards, smartcard readers and other software used for the IAM system at a reduced cost. The framework has saved each force around £150,000.

With regards to the future of the NPIA, which is to be phased out by March 2012, May told MPs on Wednesday:“It is possible that some of the current functions of the NPIA, such as witness protection and threat to life issues, could move into the NCA, but if they do so they will move as funded functions. The NPIA will cease to exist, as we have set out very clearly. We are looking at the functions that it is right to bring into the NCA, but, given that it is an operational crime-fighting body, it is not right that all the NPIA functions should come into it.”

NPIA chief executive Nick Gargan said: “The NPIA has been playing an active role in advising the government on the restructuring of the national policing landscape and which of our national functions could add value to the crime-fighting capability of the new agency. We will continue to work positively with the government to ensure that whatever decision is made about the future delivery of NPIA services, and which of these services should be part of the NCA, their transfer is done smoothly.”

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