A MAJOR IT project designed to transform policing is almost two years behind schedule.

It was hoped the £32million Project Athena would revolutionise police intelligence and data sharing between police forces.

But it is unlikely to be rolled out until late this year.

Athena is arguably the nation’s most ambitious police computer scheme with several forces working to combine information to help fight back against the criminals.

Seven police forces, including Essex, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk signed up to the scheme and shared the costs.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Everyone involved is very clear that the most important thing is when the system is launched it works successfully from day one and a huge amount of work is being carried out to achieve that aim.

“The technical go live date for the software in Essex is April 2014 with a full operational launch planned before the end of the year.

“Inevitably issues have been identified which have had to be overcome but progress continues to be made and the project is still on course to be delivered.”