The new chief of police of the Greater Manchester Police did not rule out removing the 27 million pound crime registration system from the beleaguered force as he faced fresh accusations of failed victims.
The second-largest police force in England and Wales launched the computer system just two years ago, but it remains plagued by problems, according to officers on duty.
Stephen Watson, who took over as chief of police three weeks ago, said he had commissioned a review of the Integrated Operational Surveillance System (iOPS), but that “the information I have tells me that it is not working.”
Greater Manchester Police are on special measures after an inspection report found they had failed to record 80,000 crimes, one in five of all reported crimes, in the year to June 2020.
The force faced further criticism on Tuesday after several former serving officers and he told the BBC Newsnight program that was still failing the victims. Officers said the panic buttons on their radios were not working properly and police were sometimes dispatched to life-threatening incidents without being told that firearms were possible.
155 officers were reported to have applied to leave Greater Manchester Police to join neighboring Lancashire Police in the recent period, compared to five in 2017.
Watson said iOPS may not be the only reason for the exodus, but accepted that officials were “voting with their feet” for the failures.
When asked if he would discard iOPS, which went live 19 months late in July 2019, he said: “I will be in a position in no time to make an informed decision about the future. What I am not discussing and the information I have tells me that it does not work. “
Watson said it had commissioned a separate whitepaper to see if iOPS could be radically improved, or if not, “what are the options to do something different.”
He added: “It’s great to encourage this ‘I’ll throw it away and get something new’; well, we’re talking about many, many millions of pounds and a two or three year takeover program here, so these things do need to be properly considered. “
Her Majesty’s Police Inspectorate (HMIC) previously said that iOPS flaws had exposed hundreds of vulnerable people to a “potential risk of harm.”
Watson, who spent six years circling South Yorkshire police after the Rotherham abuse scandal, was named after Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham called for the resignation of former Chief Constable Ian Hopkins in December. .
GMP has said it plans to hire 325 new officers by 2022, paid for with an increase in city tax, as part of a Burnham election pledge.