Surrey Police scrap multimillion-pound computer system

Kevin Hurley
Image caption Surrey police commissioner Kevin Hurley has decided that the force should scrap the programme

A multimillion-pound computer system that had been in development for years has been scrapped by Surrey Police.

The force began looking into replacing its ageing criminal intelligence system in 2005. It decided to develop a new one and awarded a contract in 2009.

But Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kevin Hurley has now decided the force should abandon the project and find an alternative.

The force spent £14.8m on the project from its inception to 31 March 2013.

The money was spent on staff costs, training, software, technology and consultancy.

A spokesman for the PCC's office said the force and Surrey Police Authority had decided to develop the programme, the Surrey Integrated Reporting Enterprise Network (Siren), because those available at the time "offered limited flexibility to meet the demands of individual forces".

He said Chief Constable Lynne Owens told Mr Hurley Siren "may no longer represent the best long-term option for the force and the public" soon after his appointment in November.

'Significant project'

Mr Hurley, a former Scotland Yard borough commander, then requested an independent report and sought advice on whether to abandon Siren and examine switching to the systems used by other forces in the region.

He said Mr Hurley had asked Surrey Police to research and develop an alternative proposal, which the PCC believed was in the best interests of the force and the public "from a value for money perspective".

Mr Hurley said: "My decision to withdraw from the Siren project has not been taken lightly, but I believe that this course of action will ultimately be in the best interests of both Surrey Police and the public.

"It is right and proper that it will be fully reviewed by the police and crime panel and by Grant Thornton, the Audit Commission's appointed external auditors.

Image caption Chief Constable Lynne Owens said the system "may no longer represent the best long-term option"

"I hope you can appreciate that a full inquiry into a project of this scale is likely to take some time and that it would not be proper for me to comment further at this stage."

Craig Denholm, Deputy Chief Constable of Surrey, welcomed the decision.

He said: "In September 2012, Surrey Police advised the Surrey Police Authority of its concern that the programme no longer represented the best long-term option for the force and the public.

"Given operational collaboration with other forces in the region, and as the national policing environment has now changed, we must also adapt our plans or risk losing out on the wider benefits.

"The current crime management system remains operational and the decision to withdraw from the Siren project will not impact on day-to-day policing, which continues as normal."

A date is being arranged for the audit to begin.

Last year Surrey Police pulled out of plans to privatise some of its services after security firm G4S failed to recruit enough staff for the London 2012 Olympics.

The force and West Midlands Police had drawn up a shortlist of six firms that were bidding to take over "middle and back-office functions", including G4S.

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