McArthur: IT shambles to shackle policing for years

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur today said the shambles that led to the cancellation of a £60 million IT programme is set to shackle policing for years, after it was revealed that there is no prospect of a replacement any time soon.

The Chief Executive of the Scottish Police Authority, John Foley, today told the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Sub-Committee on Policing it will be “a number of years” before there is a satisfactory IT solution.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Police Federation told MSPs that current systems can involve an officer entering the same details into systems six or seven times following an arrest. They also heard the national force is still being expected to make savings as if the benefits i6 promised had materialised.

After the committee, Mr McArthur commented:

“It is clear that the unmitigated failure of this £60 million IT programme will shackle policing for years to come.

“i6 was supposed to merge 135 often dysfunctional IT systems and generate many of the savings expected of the national force. After three years of work, it was scrapped. Now we have learned that it will be years before officers and staff have systems they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

“If the same data is having to be entered six or seven times after an arrest, imagine the frustration and time that is being wasted across Police Scotland as people try to get to grips with its systems.

“The national force needs to urgently learn the lessons of this debacle and establish robust new plans to sort it out. It might be a decade before Police Scotland finally has IT systems that are fit for purpose. That is far from what was promised when SNP ministers forced through the disastrous centralisation of the police.”

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