Greater Manchester Police’s ailing £ 27million computer system is due to be upgraded next week.
It comes four months after it was announced that outside consultants had been hired to help solve it.
But for just one day, officers will have to go back to recording crimes on paper.
The force has struggled since it introduced its Integrated Operational Policing System (iOPS) built by Capita in July 2019, with a 19-month delay.
Government inspectors later concluded that the computer system had exposed hundreds of vulnerable people to “potential risk of harm.”
One part of the system, a records management system called PoliceWorks, has been plagued by particular difficulties, including officers finding it very difficult to perform “fuzzy” or phonetic searches of suspect names.
In January, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham announced he had brought in “outside advisers” to review iOPS, although he insisted it had come “cheap. As he unveiled a “new era” in policing.
In February, he claimed senior Greater Manchester Police officers “deliberately” failed to correctly answer his and his deputy Beverley Hughes’ questions about the computer system.
Today, GMP said in a statement: “Part of the Greater Manchester Police computer system, the iOPS PoliceWorks case management system, where staff and officers can access crime information, cases and missing persons, will be upgraded on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. This will not impact public safety, which is the top priority. ”
The force says the planned upgrade is expected to result in “a significant number of bug fixes and minor flaws that have built up over time and are to some extent unavoidable with a system of this scale and complexity.”
He says this will allow staff and officers to perform their roles more effectively and keep people safe.
The upgrade is described as a “complex job,” which means PoliceWorks will be offline for a short time while the job is complete, but will come back online later that day.
GMP states that the entire iOPS system will not be offline and that to ensure that disruption is minimized, “a business continuity plan will be in place, including paper recording where appropriate, to ensure that officers and staff can still perform their roles and public safety is not compromised during the upgrade. ”
Local councils and victim support services were provided with the relevant information prior to the upgrade so that any impact on working in partnership could be understood and addressed in advance.
Deputy Chief Constable Chris Sykes said: “Upgrading is critical as it brings improvements to the tools our officers and staff need to effectively tackle crime and continue their valuable work with communities.
“Upgrading is a complex job, but our business continuity plan will ensure that there will be minimal disruption to our service and that public safety will not be compromised. Staff and agents will still be able to play their part during the outage, and we plan to bring everything back online later that day. “
In December, the police watchdog released a very critical report in GMP after another inspection found the force had failed to record around 80,000 crime reports in twelve months, although iOPS no was not specifically mentioned.
This led to the departure of Police Chief Ian Hopkins before Christmas.
The force leaders have already suggested problems with the system highlighted by the M.EN. Common problems were expected with major computer upgrades.
An earlier upgrade to PoliceWorks was made in January.
It helps officers access information on crimes, cases and missing persons.
Force bosses say the upgrade will give frontline cops the “search” feature they were used to under the previous system, called Opus, and requested.