The taxpayer's cost for the troubled police computer project is set to jump a further $8.6 million, boosting the total bill by more than 30 per cent of the original budget.

The latest estimate for the Incis project is $127.6 million, more than $30 million above the initial expected cost.

Commissioner Peter Doone and his deputy, Barry Matthews, were yesterday roasted by a parliamentary select committee over the delays that have besieged the project, putting back the implementation date for key parts of the system beyond 2000 - three years behind schedule.

An exact date for when the system will be online is not likely to be known for another fortnight, said Mr Doone.
The two police chiefs and the Minister of Police, Clem Simich, were grilled by the committee on the cause of the delays, and who was responsible.

Labour MP Phil Goff asked whether the police, project contractor IBM, or both organisations were at fault.

Mr Matthews said it was difficult to say. "There are certain things IBM have the responsibility for and there are certain functions police have to do.

Ultimately, of course, IBM are contracted to do the major job." Mr Matthews said there had been hundreds and hundreds of changes to the system since it was originally designed.

Meanwhile, a legal move to block restructuring of the police began yesterday.

A senior Wellington police manager has applied for an injunction to thwart his employer's plans to reassign senior officers throughout the country.

The Employment Tribunal, which initially received the application, decided that it should be heard by the Employment Court.

The general manager of human resources at police national headquarters in Wellington, Assistant Commissioner Jon White, has said that no decision on the future of inspectors and detective inspectors will be made until after the hearing.