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Police computer is FIVE YEARS late: MPs berate ‘staggering’ increase in cost as it soars to £1.1bn

Police computer is now FIVE YEARS late: MPs lash out at ‘staggering’ increase in cost of delayed new IT system as it soars to £1.1billion

  • MPs have blasted a ‘staggering’ increase in the cost of a new police IT system
  • The new system will cost a whopping £1billion at a delay of at least five years
  • Costs have already ‘increased by a staggering 68 per cent’ from £671million


MPs have blasted a ‘staggering’ increase in the cost of a new police IT system to more than £1billion and a delay of at least five years.

The Commons public accounts committee, which oversees government spending, said it was ‘not clear’ whether the system will be up and running by 2025 – when it will already be five years late.

The National Law Enforcement Data Service (NLEDS) will replace the creaking, 47-year-old Police National Computer (PNC).

Costs have already ‘increased by a staggering 68 per cent to £1.1billion’ from £671million, the report said. The Home Office has ‘wasted both vital time and scarce funding without making any meaningful progress’, it added.

The National Law Enforcement Data Service will replace the creaking, 47-year-old Police National Computer (File image)

Committee chairman Dame Meg Hillier slammed the Home Office’s ‘perpetual failure’ on large IT projects, after the department mishandled a series of other programmes including a walkie-talkie system called the Emergency Services Network and an IT system for UK border guards.

The NLEDS project ‘does not give the committee any comfort that the department is learning from past mistakes’, the report said.

Dame Meg added: ‘The Home Office must be clear about the route ahead or confidence of the UK’s police forces in the Home Office will sink even lower.’

MPs blasted a ‘staggering’ increase in the cost of a new police IT system to more than £1billion and a delay of at least five years (File image)

MPs blasted a ‘staggering’ increase in the cost of a new police IT system to more than £1billion and a delay of at least five years (File image)

The PNC, in use since 1974, is the main national computer with details of criminals and their offences.

Its replacement was supposed to be ready last year. It is unclear how well the PNC will operate after 2024, when manufacturers will withdraw technical support, the report said. The committee recommended changes to the way NLEDS was being managed, and demanded a full update in six months.

In January, the PNC suffered a ‘significant data loss’ in which records of nearly 113,000 criminals were erased. It took five months to recover the records. The Home Office said it was down to ‘human error’.

In August the Daily Mail revealed one of the new border IT systems was ‘crashing repeatedly’, leading to massive queues at Heathrow. The ‘Border Crossing’ database cost £372million and was rushed into use at the end of June, three years late.

A Home Office spokesman said it was not true to say no progress had been made on NLEDS, adding: ‘The programme is now on a stronger footing following a fundamental reset and, while we recognise there is more to do, we are working with policing partners to deliver it in a phased approach.’ 

Patel’s ‘criminals’ jibe at Labour on migration 

Labour MPs will be ‘siding with criminal people smugglers’ if they fail to back crucial immigration reforms, Priti Patel warned last night.

The Home Secretary suggested that opposing her Nationality and Borders Bill, which faces a Commons vote today, could endanger more migrants’ lives during perilous Channel crossings. The proposed Bill will crack down on illegal migration by handing fewer privileges to asylum seekers who arrive illegally. It will also increase prison penalties for traffickers and people who enter illegally.

In response, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the Bill was a ‘sham’ and was ‘failing’ to tackle the issues.

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