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Home Office Consultation Focuses On Biometric Law Enforcement Devices

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The consultation aims to engage with industry ahead of planned procurement for police fingerprint devices, software and frontline systems

The Home Office Biometrics (HOB) Programme has launched a consultation for potential suppliers ahead of procurement for biometric law enforcement devices.

Potential suppliers have until 2 June to return a questionnaire on the project, which is planned to result in the award of a three-year contract for what’s termed the Strategic Mobile Solution, including fingerprint devices, fingerprint capture software and frontline law enforcement agency process management.

Industry feedback

In a Prior Information Notice (PIN) the Home Office said it also plans to carry out meetings with potential suppliers as part of the consultation, whose results are then to be used to refine its procurement approach.

The consultation is aimed at determining the feasibility and market appeal of the Home Office’s procurement approach, testing the market’s capability and capacity of delivering the required devices and systems, the Home Office said.

police handcuff security crime keyboard © Oleksiy Mark ShutterstockIt is to build on previous informal feedback and look for further appropriate evidence in support of key findings, analyse the extent of market competition and give suppliers a high-level view of the HOB Programme’s requirements for the project.

The Home Office said it will be looking to understand concerns suppliers may have about its procurement approach for the mobile police fingerprinting systems and potential means of avoiding future difficulties.

It intends to begin holding discussions on the plans around two weeks after the consultation’s closing date.

Digital modernisation

The project is taking shape amidst broader efforts by the Home Office to standardise the way it approaches major technology projects, centring on a new body combining the formerly separate digital and technology units.

The Home Office’s chief digital, data and technology officer, Sarah Wilkinson, was announced as head of the new body last July.

In April Wilkinson announced she would be leaving the Home Office to become chief executive of NHS Digital, and a search is now under way for her successor.

A number of key government technology roles have become vacant in recent months, with Iain Patterson, director of Common Technology Services (CTS) at the Cabinet Office’s Government Digital Service (GDS), last week becoming the latest to announce his departure.

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