Freesteel Blog » Police crime mapper infrastructure FOIs

Police crime mapper infrastructure FOIs

Monday, October 18th, 2010 at 3:01 pm Written by:

I’ve looked at two disclosures today that had been sparked off by a flurry of FOI requests done following the publication of a national Crime Mapper webpage last year [blogged here].

The easy one was from the Derbyshire Constabulary who finally got round to disclosing their crime mapper contract with RockKitchenHarris, long after any of the other police forces had complied. They’d tried to refer to a completely out-of-context Tribunal Decision which suggested that Information is not the same as documents. I had to send to the ICO out of principle, and it appears they have written a stern letter to the Constabulary, and thus avoided making a decision notice.

The other one is from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), and they’ve done well.

The information I had about their crime mapper, which was one of the few not built by Rock Kitchen Harris, had the following substantial costs:

Phase 1: £210,000 – primarily contractors from ‘Cable and
Wireless’ and WGT, including £134,000 for AKAMI facility for calls
to be ‘held’ at high use times, protecting the reputation of the
Phase 2: expected to cost £20,000, for the work of contractors from
Cable and Wireless; and
Phase 3: estimated at £70,000 to complete and fine tune the site –
primarily Cable and Wireless contractor’s cost.

Here are the documents relating to the Cable and Wireless work.

The fine tuning £70k (prob £1000/day) seems to have been organized before the rest of it, but it’s not important.

What is important is this PNN3 framework. There is a lot of information about it:

75 million contract for Police National Network goes to Cable & Wireless (8 November 2006):

The PNN3 Framework Arrangement means that Cable & Wireless is the provider of managed voice, data, video, internet and hosting services to all police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as more than 100 organisations in the wider criminal justice community. These services enable the secure transmission of data between police forces, criminal justice and police-related agencies.

From the Cable and Wireless website:

PNN3 supports one of the key recommendations of the Bichard Inquiry and allows Cable&Wireless to deliver an effective, collaborative and integrated national, regional and local information-sharing and intelligence capability. Our services offer flexible, yet comprehensive support at all levels of policing and throughout the criminal justice community.

The Bichard Inquiry was undertaken in 2004 to:

Urgently to enquire into child protection procedures in Humberside Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary in the light of the recent trial and conviction of Ian Huntley for the murder of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells.

In Particular to assess the effectiveness of the relevant intelligence-based record keeping, the vetting practises in those forces since 1995 and information sharing with other agencies, and to report to the Home Secretary on matters of local and national relevance and make recommendations as appropriate.

Presumably this inquiry recommended that the entire job of doing the police IT systems should be handed over to one company with its pile of crappy proprietary incompatible software that no other supplier can interface with, and who charge £1000/day for ordinary web design to produce a website that you totally expect will crash as soon as it is launched [see later for details].

Michael, now Lord Bichard, came onto my radar as the leader of the Total Place Initiative in March of this year. Nothing came of that, but I did get some of the contracts out of it, which weren’t enforced, detailing the burning of some budget funds before they expired.

Digging around lead me to Bichard’s Operational Efficiency Program of 2009. I had some strong words about that one — my favourite being this graph of how much less we seem to get for our money in IT than other EU countries:

What no one seemed to do in that report was phone up someone in, say, France, and ask them what they do differently than to here (hint: they use open source software, which means their suppliers have to compete on merit and can’t lock them in over a barrel — and they only have to pay for their software once).

Anyway, the striking cost in the Police Crime mapper was the: £134,000 for Akamai facility for calls
to be ‘held’ at high use times, protecting the reputation of the MPS;

Here is the breakdown:

This is quite a significant cost, which is actually in excess of the cost to build the actual website.

C&W appear to have bought a set of physical servers for running this crime mapper from. Whoever was in charge of the job had so little confidence in their ability to make a simple website that would not immediately crash, they were able to make the case for buying in this dynamic site accelerator — from the only company had the balls to offer the 100% guarantee they wanted to hear. [I see no indication that this is a money-back guarantee, though]

And rather than pay only for one week of this generic service (the spike of interest in these websites tails off very predictably once everyone has had a look), they’ve paid for the whole year!

Of course, in the real world this read-only information presentation site would have been deployed on one Amazon EC2 box build, ten copies of which would be running on the first day, and then you’d switch nine of them off after the first week, and you’d be paying about £100/month by about now — if that.

Or they could have just published the Raw Data Now and awarded a £10k prize for the best use of it.


  • 1. Tweets that mention Frees&hellip replies at 18th October 2010, 4:24 pm :

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Francis Irving, Adrian McEwen, amcguire62, amcguire62, amcguire62 and others. amcguire62 said: RT @frabcus: Another example of how cuts done right won't reduce service – this time £300,000 for a crime map from @goatchurch […]

  • 2. Freesteel&hellip replies at 1st February 2011, 11:02 am :

    […] how I reported that the Metropolitan police had spend £300,000 on their single force version, including £134,000 […]

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