DELAYS to an industry-first high-tech police call system are ‘regrettable’ but ultimately necessary, police bosses have said.

Thames Valley police commissioner Anthony Stansfeld said he was left fed up of dealing with experts during the development of the force's ‘contact management platform’.

The new system, which will revolutionise the way police respond to reports of crime, has prompted concerns over cost and timing. It was due to go live in April and its budget is also understood to have risen from £27m to around £32m.

Introducing the now-developed system, however, is a significant task, and chief constable Francis Habgood said the force had to be completely confident before rolling it out.

Speaking about the issues at a recent police and crime panel meeting, Mr Stansfeld said: “One lesson, I think, of all computer programmes is that they take twice as long as you expect and cost rather more than the experts tell you. I got rather tired of listening to experts on the subject. It is regrettable.

“I think it will be a very good system that will be adopted throughout the country when it comes in.

The problems, funnily enough, are not so much with the system itself – it’s integrating a hugely complex system into it. That is where, very often, the cost lies. It has cost us more than we expected.”

Developed by the two forces in conjunction with Microsoft, the software will replace more than 20 systems.

The new system will change the way people report crime, giving the public the opportunity to let police know about less serious crimes and non-emergencies via email.

Police working on street level will be able to access the system through mobile devices and it boasts the ability to map out crime patterns, autonomously linking separate calls about similar events.

While delays may be frustrating, Mr Habgood said rolling the system out too early could be dangerous.

He said: “There are some systems you are introducing which you could sort of say ‘look, we can take the risk, as long as it’s 80/85 per cent there’. This is not one of them.

"Because what we’ll get is a TSB situation where people won’t be able to get through and we won’t be able to manage those calls."

Thames Valley Police will not provide a date for the roll-out.