The Police force in my own home land of Scotland was once keen to implement the use of open source, including Linux desktops, but have now reversed this position. Instead, the Central Scotland Police have begun a major Microsoft-based IT overhaul. The move will see the Scottish Police replace much of their open source infrastructure, utilising Windows Server 2003, Windows XP and Microsoft Office. Scotland Police estimate that they could save 30% on IT maintenance costs and 25% of IT staff's time by using Microsoft technology.

The new deal, made possible by savings in other areas from the £319,000 annual IT budget of the Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Falkirk force means that all Scotland's police forces are clients of the software giant.

David Stirling, head of IT for Central Scotland Police, yesterday hailed the move on the grounds that it would improve operational efficiencies and help compliance with new guidelines about inter-force co-operation imposed in the wake of the Bichard Report into the Soham murder case.