The government has set up a company to oversee police forces procurement of ICT services more cost-effectively.

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

The Police ICT Company is 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.

The Home Office said that the company intends to respond to local operational needs.

“Its aim is to free up chief officers from in-depth involvement in ICT management and enable greater innovation in police ICT so that officers can spend more time on the beat tackling crime whilst having access to the best new technologies,” the Home Office stated.

By helping disparate police forces act as a single customer, the company aims to help drive down the cost of police IT.

“While some police IT is good, such as the new Police National Database, much of it is not. There are 2,000 systems between the 43 forces of England and Wales, and individual forces have not always driven the most effective deals,” said Nick Herbert, minister for policing and criminal justice.

“We need a new, more collaborative approach and greater accountability. By harnessing the purchasing power of police forces, the new company will be able to drive down costs, save taxpayers’ money and help to improve police, and potentially wider criminal justice, IT systems in future.”