HL Deb 16 December 2002 vol 642 cc65-6WA
The Earl of Northesk

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What has been the value of investment by central government in information technology projects and procurement for police forces in England and in each of the past five years. [HL492]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton

The Government are committed to investment in information technology for the police. Technology can play a significant role in reducing the burden of bureaucracy and in increasing efficiency.

The Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) was established from 1 April 1998 as a non-departmental public body (NDPB) to provide a national capability for information technology and communications solutions to the police service. The PITO budget over the past five years is as follows:

1998–99 £38.4 million
1999–2000 £56.6 million
2000–01 £71.5 million
2001–02 £118.7 million
2002–03 (estimated outturn) £156.5 million

The PITO budget covers the running costs of the organisation, including the operation and necessary upgrading of the police national computer, and central investment in key national projects. Investment in these projects over the past five years including Airwave, the new digital police radio system (£94 million), NAFIS, the national automated fingerprint identification system (£88 million), applications supporting the national strategy for police information systems (NSPIS) (£82 million) and the development of the police-public interface (£6 million).

Police forces have received additional central funding (some £194 million to date) directly from the Home Office to enable them to prepare for the introduction of Airwave—for example by reconfiguring control rooms.

Forces are also able to use central funding provided through police and other grants to make local investments in information technology (IT) and have direct access to funding streams such as the Invest to Save Budget.