A short while ago I posted a blog about Project Athena. This is a computerised system currently across 9 Forces for intelligence and investigation management, file preparation etc etc. A full list of its ‘advantages and capabilities’ can be found here. If it works.
I also posted a poll on Twitter asking what current users thought of it. I asked Was it a) Very Good, b) Better than the old system, c) Bad or d) Very Bad.
Well the results are in. I didn’t get a huge response, but I did get one. If you missed it and would like to answer the question, just leave me a comment or a tweet and I will update the results and publish them again.
Here are the initial results
An overwhelming win for Bad/Very Bad don’t you think?
If you check the comments on the original post you will see, to be fair, that there were one or two favourable comments but most slated it.
Two of the proclaimed benefits of Athena are Shared Costs, and a Fully Integrated System with no Double Keying. A total cost of £32 Million over 10 years is the original cost quoted but cynical old me thinks that price will swell significantly. I have also heard some right horror stories about how time-consuming entering anything on Athena can be.
With these two concerns in mind I sent all of the Forces contributing to Athena identical Freedom of Information requests.
Could you please tell me the total cost to date to xxxxxxxxxxx Police of joining Project Athena?
Could you please tell me the cost for this Financial Year (alternatively the total number of hours) of overtime incurred by Police Officers in relation to file preparation etc for Project Athena?
Today I received responses from 7 out of 9 Police Forces using Project Athena. Hmmm, all on the same day? Very unusual.
More unusual was the fact that they had all sent me virtually identical responses;
I can confirm that xxxxxxxxx Police does hold information relating to your
request but in this case we have not yet reached a decision on where the
balance of the public interest lies in respect of disclosure of the
information requested. We estimate that it will take an additional 20 days
to take a decision on where this balance lies. Therefore, we plan to let
you have a response by the 6th December 2017. If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, you will be kept informed.
All I can think is that it’s a good job that the Forces aren’t in touch with each other or they could be making sure that they all give the same reason for refusing my request.
Please be assured that this will not be my final post on Project Athena, and I can’t believe that there aren’t better, cheaper and well-established programs out there, but I do accept that I’m out of the loop and IT has allegedly come on in leaps and bounds since I retired.
Hey ho, any comments and opinions on Athena are always welcome.