Wiltshire Police is stepping away from the use of shared ICT service provided by Wiltshire County Council.
It has indicated that it plans to end what has been a unique arrangement between a police service and a local authority, as it needs to align its ICT operations more closely with other police forces as part of the nationwide move to follow the Policing Vision 2025 programme.
The council’s ICT department has handled the relevant services for the police force since 2014 under a partnership with a joint board. They have reviewed the situation and last week the council received a report as part of its full council agenda saying there are now pressing reasons for the arrangement to end.
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police told UKAuthority: “The joint decision to separate ICT teams was agreed by both organisations, previously agreed by the police and crime commissioner. The decision allows Wiltshire Police to progress forward with and align to the national Policing Vision 2025 programme.”
This is focused on increasing the consistency in digital services among UK police forces and the implementation of the National Enabling Programmes, which cover productivity services, identity and access management and infrastructure run by a national management centre.
“This programme will allow us to access new and improved national IT infrastructure, programmes, applications and software,” the spokesperson said.
The service provided by the council has largely covered routine ICT issues, such as maintaining applications and running a service desk, although the police force has kept a small in-house team for specialist work such as maintaining secure environments and connections with the Airwave communications network.
The council document indicates that some ICT staff will transfer to the police force under TUPE regulations and, due to the withdrawal of the relevant funding, its own ICT department will become smaller.
It points out that a key element of the National Enabling Programmes is standards compliance, and that the force has to show it is meeting the security requirements for access to the national systems such as the Police National Computer and National Fingerprint Database. This means it will not be able to share infrastructure with a non-police organisation.
It is not yet apparent how long the separation will take, but the document says no staff changes will take place until April 2020.
Image from Wiltshire Police, Fair use licence