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999 What's your emergency: Mega millions Met call handling IT muckup?

London mayor says 3-year delay could run on longer

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A major delay to the Metropolitan Police's new command-and-control system responsible for handling 999 calls will cost the tax payer £25m, it has emerged.

The £90m contract to overhaul the Met's 30-year-old command-and-control system was meant to go live last year after Lockheed and Northrop Grumman won the 17-year "partnership" with the Met alongside KPMG and Capita.

"The programme will ensure that the UK’s largest police force is enabled for multi channel public interaction delivering improved situational awareness, predictive analytics and data sharing, including through voice, text, application and social media," said Lockheed Martin in a press release in 2014.

However, after hitting major problems, the system has been delayed by up to three years.

In response to a question by Conservative London Assembly member Andrew Boff regarding the delays, Mayor Boris Johnson confirmed it had been necessary to extend the force's existing contract with Unisys.

"There have been some problems which are currently being worked through to enable the new system to be implemented," he said.

"This extension of service was circa £25m. There will be additional costs in development, testing and running programme teams, but until the length of time is known the work effort and therefore cost is still being assessed. Any additional costs will be met by the appropriate provider."

The Met is currently spinning multiple plates in an attempt to overhaul its ageing and expensive IT systems.

Last year a report by the London Assembly's Budget and Performance Committee warned plans by the force to outsource its IT via a 10-year £216m mega deal with Sopra Steria represented a "huge risks".

In 2014 the force splashed £302m on IT, down from £312m the previous year, according to a Freedom of Information response.

The Register has contacted the Met for a comment. ®

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