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By | Kat Hall 5th June 2015 09:04

Plod IT spending fails to fall down the stairs as taxpayers cough £385m

Honest guv, he hit his head on the way into the server room

Spend on IT by coppers has barely fallen in three years, despite huge public sector spending cuts - freedom of information responses sent to El Reg can reveal.

According to responses sent from 12 police forces - there are 43 across England and Wales - total spend for 2014/15 was £385m, down from £396m in 2013/14 and £391m in 2012/13.

Yet during that period Home Secretary Theresa May has slashed police budgets by a fifth, with some 17,000 jobs being chopped. She has also indicated that further cuts will be made during this term.

Not surprisingly The Metropolitan Police Service was the biggest spender, splashing £302m in 2014/15m. In comparison the force spent £318m in 2013/14 and £312m the previous year to that.

The force plans to outsource IT services to cut costs. It currently employs 672 full-time tech staff and contractors. According the FOI, its yearly wage bill on IT staff comes in at £40.1m.

The force told El Reg the number of IT roles due to be made redundant is currently not known.

The Met has come under fire for its creaking IT estate. In 2013 the London Assembly said 70 per cent of the force's technology platforms are redundant, with that figure rising to 90 per cent by 2016.

In order to combat IT costs, the force is also consolidating data centres from six to two and is building a private cloud. The Met is also in the process of moving out of Scotland Yard and shifting legacy systems to a new location.

"We want to really push hard on virtualization," interim chief technology officer of the Met Stephen Deakin has told El Reg in April.

Earlier this year the Police ICT Company was finally formed intended to slash the amount police spend on IT and make it fit for purpose. The body has taken four-years to get off the ground. ®

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