£75m secure police network deal up for grabs

Existing C&W deal ends next year…

Existing C&W deal ends next year…

UK police are set to upgrade the secure communications network that links forces to each other and to central databases such as the Police National Computer (PNC), in a contract estimated to be worth £75m.

The procurement is being handled by the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) and the five-year deal will run from October 2006 when the existing deal with Cable & Wireless expires. The contract also carries the option of an additional two-year extension.

The new network, dubbed Police National Network 3 (PNN3), will provide data and telephony communications for and between police forces and links to central systems including PNC, the Criminal Justice Extranet (CJX) and the Scottish Criminal Records Office.

The technology demands specified by PITO include a core IP network capable of providing four different levels of security from "unclassified" to "top secret" that will link securely with other government platforms, along with email, web hosting and security services.

PITO said it expects to invite up to six suppliers to tender for the contract in July this year.

PNN3 project manager Roland Sinden said the contract replacement will provide an opportunity to review the future network requirements.

"The task ahead is challenging as we need to anticipate the future direction of technological developments. Experience suggests there will be huge changes in technology over the coming years and, considering we may be looking at a service that will be in place until 2013, the right contract needs to be in place to cater for this," he said.