Police technology cost £5 million

A TECHNOLOGY system which hosted Suffolk's Police Direct Service cost £5.1million to run last year, it can be revealed today.Police Portal, described as the principle police/public interface for police forces across the country, was scrapped on April 1 for funding reasons.

A TECHNOLOGY system which hosted Suffolk's Police Direct Service cost £5.1million to run last year, it can be revealed today.

Police Portal, described as the principle police/public interface for police forces across the country, was scrapped on April 1 for funding reasons.

The service provided an on-line crime reporting system in Suffolk as well as Police Direct messaging service which sent crime and appeal information via text message and e-mail to about 25,000 subscribers.

An on-line petition has already been created in protest at the removal of the scheme, with 150 signatories to date.

Now a Suffolk man has submitted a Freedom of Information request to the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), calling for answers about the suspension of the service.

Barry Pamplin, of Bury St Edmunds, asked the NPIA for details of the cost of the service and what consultation took place prior to Police Portal being stopped.

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The response said: “The Police Direct messaging service is one of a number of services provided by the Police Portal to the 53 police forces of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

“It is not possible to apportion the individual cost of providing the messaging service to Suffolk.

“However, the cost of providing the Portal service nationally for the financial year 2006/07 was £5.1million.”

Police Direct, which was run by BT, was suspended when the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) came to an end at the end of March.

PITO had funded the scheme but were taken over by the NPIA who quizzed Chief Constables across the country on whether they could contribute to the provision of the service.

However, according to the NPIA, the majority thought it would not be a good use of resources.

The NPIA is now looking for an alternative but to continue the scheme in the interim would have cost more than £600,000 over three months.

What do you think about the suspension of the service? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

for all 53 police forces in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It consists of the www.police.uk web presence, online non-emergency crime reporting system and a public messaging system which makes use of inbound and outbound sms/mms and telephony capabilities

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