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Gov: We want cheap police tablets and by God we'll get them

SCC pressurised to cut costs of fondling cop-slabs

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The Minister for Policing and Justice is leaning on reseller-cum-integrator SCC to slash the cost of fondleslabs for cops by reducing the number of sub-contractors it works with under the pan-government Sprint ii framework.

The 43 forces in England and Wales were mandated in March 2011 to use Sprint ii to procure commodity hardware and software and Birmingham-based SCC was the only accredited supplier in the agreement.

Minister Nick Herbert, told Parliament on Monday that Government Procurement Services and SCC were "exploring ways to reduce the range of sub-suppliers who provide tablet computers and other hardware products".

"This is expected to provide further opportunities for greater price reductions while maintaining an element of product choice," he added.

Herbert was responding to Labour MP Keith Vaz's question in Parliament on Monday asking if the Department planned to open the procurement of tablets to a wider competitive tender.

Herbert said Sprint ii has already achieved "reduced pricing". The framework has been forecast to save £18m over its three-year duration, which may end next April.

The savings achieved through Sprint ii, however, have already been questioned by Northants Constabulary and West Midlands Police Authority - the latter of which then retracted its initial claims.

The Home Office has previously committed to review Sprint ii when it launches the police run IT procurement and management company, which took form this week as an organ called Pictco.

The National Policing Improvement Agency today runs Information Systems Improvement Strategy (ISIS) - an IT reform programme - but Picto is set to take responsibility for ICT when NPIA is abolished under UK gov plans.

SCC and NPIA were unavailable to comment at the time of going to press. ®

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