MPs grill mandarin over police IT failures

11 October 2018

PFEW Simon Kempton

PFEW Technology Lead Simon Kempton

Home Office civil servant is quizzed about Police Federation-sponsored survey at Parliamentary Committee.

Chair Meg Hillier, MP, took the Permanent Secretary in charge of the beleaguered Emergency Services Network (ESN) programme to task, pointing to the report which earlier this week unveiled the dismal state of police technology.

At the Public Accounts Committee, she told Sir Philip Rutnam: “It paints a damning picture of the confidence of frontline officers about their ICT services. One officer is quoted as saying ‘getting a signal is an issue’ and just 2% are satisfied with their ICT services.”

PFEW technology lead Simon Kempton has previously criticised the ESN radio programme, which is massively behind schedule and over budget. Yesterday the committee heard that the system now probably won’t come online until 2022 at least, but Sir Philip kept denying the programme had ‘run into the wall.’

Mr Kempton said: “The viscosity of the government procurement process beggars belief. We are now being told that ESN, which is due to replace the old Airwave system, has an overspend of more than £1billion, yet the Home Office are just putting their heads in the sand over the whole disaster.

“It is good that they are now being challenged by MPs who have heard the horror stories and read reports like the one we were involved in. The Public Accounts Committee are just highlighting what we have been saying for years.”

The new Police ICT report was produced by police governance organisation CoPaCC and Policing Insight in conjunction with the Federation.