£1m device for tracking suspects will not be ready in time for the Games
A supercomputer that was supposed to help Britain’s security service track terror suspects will not be ready in time for the Olympics.
MI5 has sacked a firm of IT consultants after the company failed to meet deadlines to implement the new intelligence-checking system.
The computer system is designed to help MI5 officers carry out secret searches on suspects, including those who may pose a threat at the Olympics.
But spy chiefs have admitted that the software will not be ready in time to be safely trialled before the start of the Games later this month.
The new ‘electronic records management’ system will bring together all MI5 intelligence material, so officers can carry out complete searches of old and current records.
For example, it would alert officers more quickly to archived intelligence on a terror suspect who had been dormant or lying low for a number of years.
The IT failure comes days after the Government announced that private security firm G4S had failed to hire enough guards for the Olympics. Ministers have been forced to call upon the Army to make up the shortfall.
One security source said of the MI5 IT project: ‘Of course it would be better if this was up and running in time for the Olympics as it allows officers to search all their systems in one quick check. In a fast-moving investigation, with finite resources, delay can mean the difference between success and failure.’