The long-awaited national police ICT company will become operational in the next few months after proposals were accepted by police and crime commissioners (PCCs).

The company, which will be owned by PCCs and other policing governance bodies, aims to ensure that police IT is as efficient and effective as it can be by maximising value for money.

A board formed of PCCs, senior police officers and Home Office officials put a proposal to the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ annual general meeting last week which was “well supported” and approved.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, who is one of the four board members said,

“We are in a position where the police have to get the best value for every penny they spend. With budgets sure to come under increasing pressure it goes without saying that we have to find different, more economic ways of operating.

“Nationally, more than a billion pounds is spent on police IT every year and with some companies selling the same products many times to different police forces it’s inefficient and expensive. What’s more, opportunities to share information effectively are being missed.

“Criminals don’t have the same restrictions, they don’t recognise police boundaries so we have to make sure that police technology keeps up so that critical information flows seamlessly from force to force.”

Essex PCC Nick Alston, who chaired the board, said they had been carrying out “gritty and unglamorous work” to get to this point but was “delighted” a decision had been made. He said,

“We decided we have to let go of the side of the pool at some point and so we are starting to take over some national systems in April.

“We have modest plans for the first year – our initial costs are a little over a million pounds for the first twelve months but we believe we could make £3 million of savings even during that time.”

The company will begin to take over systems including the Child Abuse Image Database, National Mutual Aid Telephony and Custody and Case Preparation.

It is hoped that the company, which was created in 2012, could ultimately save forces up to £465 million a year.