Police Scotland to ‘pull plug’ on problem-hit £60m IT system

Control room at Bilston Glen. Picture: Julie Bull
Control room at Bilston Glen. Picture: Julie Bull
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Police Scotland is said to be preparing to tear up a contract for the delivery of a multi-million-pound IT system which has been beset with glitches.

The i6 project, which is due to bring together more than 100 existing systems belonging to the country’s eight former forces, had been expected to “go live” in one police division in December, with a full national roll-out planned for this year.

However, its future is now uncertain after contractor Accenture identified a number of defects during testing.

In a written update to MSPs on Holyrood’s justice sub-committee on policing, Police Scotland said it had yet to find a “mutually agreeable way forward” with its contractor and was now exploring contingency plans.

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson, a former senior police officer, claimed the force had been involved in discussions with Accenture about allowing the contractor to walk away from the job for a fee.

He said: “My understanding is that there are ongoing moves to enable Accenture to pay a fee to enable them to walk away from this contract because it’s undeliverable.

“I don’t think the fee will cover the sorts of expenses that have been suffered by the public purse. Those in the various organisations involved are as shocked and as appalled as I am with the incompetence this thing has been handled with.”

Police Scotland has described the IT project as the “largest and most significant transformational change ever undertaken by the service”, with the final cost thought to be around £60m.

The force said the status of the project was “extremely disappointing”, but it was continuing to work with Accenture on its delivery.

Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson said: “Police Scotland and Accenture have agreed to re-scope the delivery of i6 which will progress implementation of the national solution and secure significant benefits for policing.

“Due diligence will now be carried out to finalise a revised timetable and build process. I am clearly disappointed i6 will not be delivered to the timescales originally agreed.

“Our focus is on realising those long-term benefits and working with Accenture to overcome any short-term challenges. i6 will give officers and staff across the country the real-time ability to work in the most effective and 
efficient way possible.”