Customs & Excise overhaul to fight fraud

A £500m revamp of HM Custom & Excise's IT and telecommunications infrastructure could improve the government's fight against fraudsters and drug traffickers.

According to a HM Customs & Excise spokesman Mark Thomson the overhaul will "better utilise staff time" and make communication between departments more efficient.

Although specifics of the new system are not yet worked out, Thomson anticipates the new use of technology will have wide-ranging effects in the fight against crime. "For example in our VAT work we would be able to download information on a company's tax," Thomson said.

ICL, a supplier of IT systems, has been chosen as preferred bidder for the contract. The contract is expected to be awarded in the spring.