England

Police forces in four counties to share IT resources

A police force has announced plans to share its IT services with three other forces as they look to make savings.

Essex and Kent forces already share IT departments and the new initiative brings in Suffolk and Norfolk, creating the second largest IT unit in England.

The aim initially will be to make savings of £3m to £4m over a four-year period.

The new unit, East Coast IT Services, will have 375 staff for 18,000 employees, serving 4.7 million people.

'Not quick'

Andy Barker, director of IT for Essex Police and Kent Police, said: "There are huge benefits to be had in joining up IT provision and services.

"Behind the scenes, IT has always had a vital role in operational policing - giving officers and staff the tools to do the job efficiently and effectively.

"Aligning IT functions across forces operating different processes and procedures is not a quick job.

"But, longer term, the benefits are huge, both in terms of making financial savings to protect the front line and in making our technology do more to support the demands of modern policing."

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