Met Police vacillates on frontline tech roll-out

A freedom of information request has revealed that the Metropolitan Police Service has still not decided what mobile hardware will be used by its frontline officers.

Plans to provide up to 20,000 tablet devices to officers were announced in 2014 yet, according to information sourced by tech magazine V3, just 641 iPads have been rolled out in the Hammersmith and Fulham areas. Those devices were used for a limited trial to see how they could best be utilised.

V3 reports that the capital’s police force spent £1.2m on hardware during the trial at time, including the tablets and supporting servers and accessories. In addition, £4.1m was reportedly spent on custom software development.



A spokesperson told the tech magazine that the 641 iPads remain in use and have been well received, but the trial did not result in the Met deciding to roll out iPads across its entire force, which means that the trial hasn’t resulted in any firm decision on suitable hardware and systems.

The roll-out of the new tech is further complicated as the Met’s procurement process needs to be approved and signed off by the London Mayor’s Office, which first requires a new mayor to be elected to take over from Boris Johnson.

“Making our officers more mobile through technology such as tablets is a key part of our plans to make savings,” a spokesperson told V3. “It will ensure that front-line officers can maximise their time fighting crime in our communities and enable the continued reduction in the size of our estate.”

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