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We are supporting police forces in their drive to improve efficiency, including through reducing bureaucracy, more effective procurement, collaboration and sharing services.
It is important that police forces do more to take up such opportunities. We have already seen an increase in the collaboration between police forces over operational matters, but there are valuable opportunities to collaborate and share services for the back-office functions such IT and human resources, which would result in significant savings. That is what we are encouraging forces to look at.
I welcome the idea of police forces sharing services, especially in areas such as forensic science. Given the Government’s strategy, is that not likely to result in the reforming of the Forensic Science Service?
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would reflect on the mismanagement under the previous Administration that left the Forensic Science Service on an unsustainable footing.
I strongly agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of good police IT, which we seek to improve. It is for forces to commission these services, but we have announced that we intend to set up a new vehicle—a force-owned IT body—to commission IT and seek improvements, because it is so important that police officers have good IT in order to fight crime effectively and not waste time on bureaucratic processes.