The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) has signed a new agreement with suppliers to speed up police interview processes.
The Digital Interviewing Framework Arrangement was signed with three suppliers: Capita Secure Information Systems, Damovo UK, and Ultra Electronics AudioSoft.
They will compete to supply UK police forces with modern networked digital technology to modernise the interview process, 90 per cent of which still relies on tape machines.
ICT provider Damovo estimates that the deal will supply contracts worth up £12m over three years.
The NPIA expects the deal to speed up the interview process because digital recording enables interviews to be recorded straight on to a secure digital network, which also improves its accessibility for other police departments.
It will also make the storage of interview files easier, as they will sit on secure servers, rather than taking up physical space and the associated organisational time needed to manage these.
The NPIA said that some forces currently have up to 750,000 tapes in storage.
Nick Deyes, head of information and communications development at the NPIA, said: "This is about using technology to help forces improve efficiency, security and reducing costs.
"This is not just about saving money. It is also about transforming and improving the way the police service and criminal justice agencies retain and retrieve evidence. Better use of information such as police interviews helps to speed up the criminal justice process and bring offenders to justice quicker."
Damovo will supply its Complete Online Digital Evidence System (CODES), which provides secure interview and evidential recording.