See also: CIO Profile on Met Police's Ailsa Beaton

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has started to use the National Police Procurement Hub (NPPH) e-marketplace, which is intended to help police forces save money by automating processes.

The NPPH, run by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), provides electronic trading between the 43 police services in England and Wales on a secure, web-based platform.

Designed to deliver an internet-style shopping experience, the platform provides users with access to MPS, national and regional catalogues, which comprises 53 catalogues and more than 1,300 suppliers.

All of the pan-government contracts and frameworks managed by the Government Procurement Service, as well as products and services specific to the police and blue light emergency services, are accessible via the hub.

The MPS is the twelfth force to go live on the system, which is in the process of being rolled out across police forces. The system is fully integrated into the MPS's back office ERP system.

According to the MPS, 200 purchase orders were made on day one of the system going live.

Lee Tribe, director of procurement for MPS, said: "The benefits for our suppliers in automating the ordering process will enable them to avoid re-keying MPS orders into their sales systems and speed up the end-to-end process."

He added: "Users within the MPS have access to a greater variety of products and services, and faster delivery times."

Separately, the government recently set up a company to help police forces procure ICT services more cost-effectively.

The new Police ICT Company Ltd is currently jointly owned by the Home Office and the Association of Police Authorities (APA), but will be handed over to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), who will be elected in November.

It will be responsible for the procurement, implementation and management of ICT solutions, as well as the associated business change, for local police forces.