back to article Day 4 of outage: UK's Manchester police deploy exciting new carbon-based method to record crime

Greater Manchester Police is struggling with a partial outage of a Capita-built computer system used by frontline officers to input information. The PoliceWorks systems, which form part of the force's new iOPS (Integrated Police Operating System) – a £27m project undertaken by everyone's favourite outsourcer – went down after …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    They have been hacked by OfficeWorld

    who are now doing great business selling note books & pencils!

    1. eurobloke

      Re: They have been hacked by OfficeWorld

      You mean Banner or Lyreco. We are a little way from Switzerland.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: They have been hacked by OfficeWorld

      Office World were taken over by Staples many years ago.

      Staples were then taken over by Office Outlet last year, and subsequently went bust.

      1. Rich 11

        Re: They have been hacked by OfficeWorld

        Given that they sold me two easily-broken office chairs, it serves them right.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: They have been hacked by OfficeWorld

        Staples were then taken over by Office Outlet^W^WHorse & Battery


  2. Roj Blake Silver badge


    If there's only minimal impact from the system going down, then is that system really worth £27M?

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Impact

      Customer facing impact: Minimal (although this is PR speak so to be taken with a lot of salt)

      Internal impact: Goddamn huge fire.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Impact

        "Customer facing impact: Minimal (although this is PR speak so to be taken with a lot of salt)"

        "Some users were affected" :-)

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Impact

      They are unable to submit performance metrics leading to a decrease in their official performance.

      Instead they are all out fighting crime

      The real question is the value of spaffing 27m quid on a system to report irrelevant statistics

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Impact

        Considering that the latest statistics show that only a nugatory percentage of crimes actually get investigated, I'd say that a systems failure could lock every single GMP officer in their own cells for a week and still have minimal impact on their crime clear-up rates or public reputation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Impact

          Crime might actually go down if that happened

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Impact

      If there's only minimal impact from the system going down

      it shows that the disaster planning worked a treat. This should be a big thumbs up for the force, being able to carry on effectively, despite the system failing.

      This shows rule 1 of IT automation hasn't changed. When I first started designing systems, the first thing we had to do was to document the manual fallback procedure to carry on working in the event of a disaster.

  3. Paul Dx

    "... we still have the ability to read all information on PoliceWorks." that was entered before the Curse of Crapita struck (again).

  4. John70

    Maybe they should have had a look at Black Marble's tuServ. Most likely cheaper than £27m.

  5. Spacedinvader

    Never trust a copper with a pencil

    Notes can be rubbed out...

    1. nichomach

      Re: Never trust a copper with a pencil

      *cough* Hillsborough *cough*

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never trust a copper with a pencil

      Didn't they used to use special note pads that stopped that? I can't see them being available anymore.

  6. Andy Non Silver badge

    Upgrade imminent

    To assuage public concern, the force has now stated that they are doing a major upgrade from pencil and paper... to pen and paper.

    (At least they aren't using crayons any more)

    1. irrelevant

      Re: Crayons

      I'd not be so sure about that...

    2. Chris G

      Re: Upgrade imminent

      Knowing Crapita, I suspect that the member of Crapita staff implenting their upgrades is normally employed in the canteen cleaning up but has an interest in IT, so he gets an extra fiver when he does a bit of PC work. Probably , he got to do the upgrade at pub o clock on a Friday.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: Upgrade imminent

        I feel you are giving Crapita far more credit than they're due with that explanation!

  7. RM Myers

    Quick Question

    Is this considered a Capita(l) offense?

  8. Charles Smith


    Enhanced communication and recording methodology utilising 3D Graphene matrix on biodegradable cellulose matting.

    1. Phil Endecott

      Re: Graphene


  9. a_yank_lurker

    Would they have been better off building the system internally instead of hiring Crapita or another shakedown operation?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No profit to be made doing that via kickbacks. I don't have proof of that but I'm willing to bet some MPs or their family members or investment funds have holdings in Crapita. It's the only way I can think you could explain how their many cock ups and other out sourcing get ignored.

  10. chivo243 Silver badge


    iOPS (Integrated Police Operating System)? Shouldn't it be iPOS?

    1. Iad Uroboros's Nemesis

      Re: typo?

      I was thinking iPOPS myself. After all, it seems to keep popping its clogs.

      1. LoPath

        Re: typo?

        Or maybe iPOPO if they're in the hood. My coat's right there next to yours...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: typo?

      The new system is iPOOP - Integrated Police Other Operating System.

      The only good thing is that it's an argument for still teaching handwriting in schools.

      1. Ken Shabby

        Re: typo?

        iPLOD - Integrated Police Loss of Data

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Disintegrated Police Operating System


    Just hold a couple of Capita directors in the cells until it gets sorted. That should speed things up nicely. Or maybe not once the workers realise what all the fuss is about.

  12. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    In Six Months...

    Judge: Officer, please answer the question. You may refer to your notes, if required.

    Officer: Thank you Your Honor. If I may, I'd like a few moments to get my series of cocktail napkins and matchbooks in order.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But not...

    "We have robust contingency plans that are successfully executed across the force to minimise disruptions,"

    You gave me a USB stick before you'd used that you hadn't secure wiped. Yes, wasn't you're force but I suspect you're all the same and aren't given the proper tools or training to secure wipe that drive before giving it to me.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course its an emergency!

    The IT guys cant read The Register!

  15. Terry 6 Silver badge

    It needs to be put on a big sign somewhere (maybe the side of a bus).. Just two words.


  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    Capita Originated Pile of S...

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: COPS

      Capita Or Paper Substitute

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: COPS

        Actually, the article refers "Integrated Police Operating System" as IOPS, while it is of course IPOS.

        From time to time, acronyms don't lie :)

  17. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Buzzword Bingo

    It's full of it...

    1. davenewman

      Re: Buzzword Bingo

      When I click on that, I am told by Chrome that it is not secure.

  18. ElectricPics

    No need to read past the word Capita. How do they get business given that every single project they run goes from not fit purpose to Titsup and back, in cycles?

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      I live in BARNET!

      AKA the London Borough of Capita

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        End of the Northern Line, High Barnet would be in...

        the London Borough of High Capita?

  19. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Help, police!

    I think it is now time to remove the comma (above).

  20. mark4155

    Capita or Crapita that's the question.

    Dear Uncle Reg.

    Surely you of all people know the company as "Crapita"

    Please pay more attention in future.

    Toodle Pip.

  21. Aussie Doc


    Your security / privacy / vagrancy / something something is important to us and it will all be okay - we have it all under control.

    Or something. He did all right, init. ------>

  22. big_D Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    What is surprising?

    This, evidently, includes the cutting-edge technology appropriate to a world-class police force: pencil and paper. Robust indeed.

    When I started in IT, back in the late 1980s, the first thing you did when planning a new system was to also implement an offline contingency procedure to keep working, if the main systems went offline.

    For something as critical as a police force, I would darned well hope that they have manual procedures to fall back on.

  23. 0laf

    What always annoys me is that in some (many, often most) circumstances a pencil and paper are appropriate and useful technologies.

    Digitising everything, might be shiney but it's not always the best answer. Even when you take money out of the equation.

  24. hairydog

    The reality is that any contract letting Capita do anything has to be dodgy. The only thing they do well is to draft contracts within contracts which allow them to charge huge amounts of money for screwing up, or even doing nothing at all.

    Signing a Capita contract guarantees nothing except a huge bill.

    I guess that someone must be getting rich, because Capita keep getting contracts, even though they never seem to deliver what's promised

    There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that even lets them into the bidding.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And following this cock-up we have......

    The Emergency Services Network (ESN) Cock-Up (or should that be 'on-going Cock-up'?) to look forward to......

    Incidentally, are there any other Police Forces using this same system as GMP?

  26. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "The Reg has asked Capita for comment"

    Probably something on the lines of "we take our responsibilities very seriously, and there really isn't a problem anyway"

    I wish I could perform like this and still keep the work coming in. We, the small guys that HMRC seems to hate, have to deliver working systems reliably to stay in business, but once you reach a certain scale you apparently become both entitled to screw up regularly and immune to criticism.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We have proactively liaised...

    Anybody who "proactively liases" at all needs to be nuked from orbit. FFS, what is the meaning of that term? Sounds like having sex with prostitutes before you arrest them.....

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