A new £27m IT system has left Greater Manchester police unable to charge many suspects, leading to a massive backlog in cases.
Since the new system was implemented in July, an array of suspects have been sent home from stations following their arrest because officers cannot charge them.
The Integrated Operating Police Operating System (iOPS) was supposed to be “a single, integrated platform to support public contact, policing response and investigative activity,” providing Greater Manchester Police with access to all police records dating back to 1974.
However, the new software was initially a year behind schedule and when it was finally put in place by an outsourced company, Capita, it wouldn’t let police charge anyone, putting the safety of the public at risk.
Many suspects have now been released under investigation which leaves them free to go about their daily lives as normal, rather than under limitations which is what can happen when they’re released on bail.
Robert Moussalli, a lawyer specialising in cases involving children and young people, who defends daily at Manchester youth court, said there was a massive backlog of cases as a result of problems with iOPS.
Many other lawyers have reported the same problems across multiple police station throughout Greater Manchester.
Some of the charges of the suspects released include the assault of a police officer and possession of a knife; joyriding and drink driving.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “We have worked closely with Greater Manchester police to mitigate any risks to the delivery of case material as the new police IT system is introduced. We are in daily contact with GMP to ensure there are effective contingency arrangements in place if necessary and we will continue to work closely with them.”