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The Police IT Organisation (Pito) is putting together plans to replace a national IT system used to respond to serious crime investigations and major emergencies, it announced on 14 March.

Holmes2 (Home Office Large and Major Enquiries System) has been used in most large scale police operations, including the 7 July bombings and the Tsunami response, since it became available to all forces five years ago.

The system, developed with supplier Unisys, helps collate and analyse the masses of information fed into police incident rooms. Pito is drawing up plans to upgrade the system as Unisys's contract ends in two years time, and forces have new requirements for handling data.

Pito says it does not have a "central figure" for the value of the framework agreement with Unisys for Holmes2. The incumbent supplier is likely to retender for the new contract.

It is hoped that the successor, to be known as Holmes 2020, will provide an IT infrastructure for a wider scope of investigations including fraud, serial crimes and traffic management. Pito also wants the new system to handle a wider range of multimedia evidence including CCTV pictures and mobile phone data.

A business case for Holmes 2020 is to be drawn up later this year and Pito will be carrying out a scoping exercise with police forces to find out their requirements.

Jon Stoddart, executive lead for Holmes 2020 said: "The police service faces a significant challenge in handling mass fatality incidents and major investigations. It is vital IT applications that support these operations reflect the business processes, rules and procedures involved to ensure a sophisticated approach to the management of large-scale incidents in the public's interest."

Vanessa Baxter, Holmes2 project manager at Pito said that new forms of contracting could be considered.

"The Holmes 2020 project presents the service with the ideal opportunity to explore alternative methods of purchase and supply to ensure local and national consistency of product versions and user practices. This will help Holmes 2020 to build on the operational success of Holmes2 with greater cohesion between forces using the system."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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