Boeing lands £100m Staffordshire police deal

Boeing lands £100m Staffordshire police deal

A £100m contract for upgrades to the Staffordshire Police IT system has been handed to defence firm Boeing in what is thought to be the first deal of its kind.

The force's police and crime commissioner (PCC) Matthew Ellis said the partnership would put the force at the "forefront of policing in the UK" and allow its officers to stay on the beat longer.

Ellis said the agreement was a "pivotal moment" which would improve capability and lead to savings in IT running costs.

Officers in the county have already been issued with body-worn cameras and mobile devices, which the force said would create time on the beat equivalent to employing 100 more officers.

It is understood to be the first IT partnership between a UK police force and a private firm and comes amid calls to merge emergency service infrastructure such as call centres in response to budget cuts.

Boeing, which supplies the British armed forces, beat 52 other companies to secure the contract, which could run for 10 years.

Ellis said: "Policing in Staffordshire, and across the country, has fallen short of providing officers with the right technology to do the job.

"As crime becomes more complex, with borders for criminals swept aside because of the internet and social media, it is essential that we ensure police have the right technology to tackle crime locally and wider.

"Doing that requires closer working, co-ordination and communication with the wider public sector in Staffordshire but also the ability to share appropriate information more effectively with other police and security services nationally.

"In Staffordshire I am confident we are well placed now to meet the changing needs for the future."

Chief constable Jane Sawyers said: "Our officers have been hampered by outdated technology and a lack of real-time information to help them do their job.

"This IT partnership with Boeing takes us to the next level and will see our officers and staff equipped with state-of-the-art technology, which will put them at the forefront of policing in the UK.

"It will have a number of benefits for communities in Staffordshire including increasing the visibility of officers on the streets.

"Police will also have better information than criminals, leading to earlier intervention. This will help officers spot warning signs earlier due to the information they will have access to."

David Pitchforth, vice president and managing director of Boeing Defence UK, added: "Boeing is delighted to have won this contract.

"We will work hand-in-glove with the police and crime commissioner and the chief constable and her team to support effective policing across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent."

The government has proposed greater collaboration between police and fire services, which could see PCCs take control of fire authorities and help set up free schools aimed at preventing children from falling into a life of crime.

New working arrangements could also see the three emergency services sharing headquarters and back office functions.