The Police ICT Company (PICTCO) has added five more companies to its list to provide technical support for its Minerva programme.
It is a significant step in its plan to improve the use of the Niche records management system through the creation of a number of regional hubs for police forces.
PICTCO has set up a procurement framework for support on data quality and exploitation, awarding places to Bluestar Software, Bolderwood Solutions, GPC Systems, PA Consulting Services and Sagaciti Consulting.
They join Infoshare, which was awarded a place in March, in a four-year deal worth up to £30 million.
Niche – supplied by Canadian company Niche Technology – is used by 23 of the UK’s 43 police forces and has been heavily customised by most, to the point where it has hampered efforts to make them interoperable.
While there are already hubs in the East Midlands and North-West, most of the deployments have been handled individually and the programme is aimed at bringing all forces into six or seven groupings.
Effective information sharing
Under a six-year plan a Minerva delivery team is being set up to develop new functions and make use of Niche’s development environment. The ultimate aim is to support police forces in sharing intelligence and operational information more effectively, providing better value for money and making it possible to use physical resources, such as custody suites, more effectively.
Each force will be encouraged to join a hub, for which the builds and configuration of Niche will be similar, or develop the ability to access other forces’ data through the interNiche hub to hub solution.
Athena, from Northgate Public Services, is the other records management system widely used by UK police forces.
Image: Matty Ring, CC BY 2.0 through flickr
Amended on 8 July to clarify earlier award to Infoshare