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Police shut non-urgent crime reporting portal

'Serious defects and delays'

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An internet portal to enable the public to report non-urgent crime has been closed following "serious defects and delays".

The Police Portal, an award winning secure electronic system to allow the public to alert the police to minor offences, has been shut.

A spokesperson for the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) told GC News: "We cannot discuss the detail of the matter because it is subject to legal proceedings.

"The system that was in development was not fit for live use, due to a range of serious defects and delays, and consequently failed user acceptance testing."

The pilot portal went live in 2001, linking 53 police forces across the UK. It was described by the then home office minister as another channel of communication to enable the people to contact the police.

Victims of crime were guided through a series of structured questions and asked to input information about the offence, as well as their own personal details.

Users were reminded to dial 999 if they were reporting a crime that needed an urgent response. A version was available in Welsh and in large text format for people with visual impairment.

By 2007 the number of crimes reported on the portal reached nearly 3,000, and it won third place in the e-business category of the Management Consultancies Association's Best Management Practice Awards.

The project was originally developed by BT, but in 2005 security and defence technology firm QinetiQ was awarded a new contract to provide and manage a replacement.

The upgraded portal was expected to have additional functionality, including digital mapping technology so that people were able to pinpoint the exact location of an offence.

The NPIA spokesperson refused to comment on the potential of a replacement service because of legal implications.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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