IT equipment in London's Metropolitan Police force is so old and inefficient that crime across the city is higher as a result, a scathing report released today claims.
The London Assembly's Smart Policing report says the force spends 85 per cent of its £250m ICT budget on just keeping the lights on rather than investing in modern technology, and further claimed that a criminal with a smartphone is more high tech than Met officers.
"The Met does not use technology as well as it could. It has built up its current provision over a number of years without a coherent strategy. Crime is higher as a result," said the report.
Seventy per cent of the service's ICT systems are redundant – a figure expected to rise to 90 per cent by 2015, the report said, adding that one of the body's core operating systems dates back to the 1970s.
John Biggs, chairman of the budget and performance committee, said in the report's opening statement that Met officers take a step back in time when they go to work.
"Every year the Met spends around £250m on running its ICT, most of which goes on maintaining out-of-date, ineffective and overly expensive systems," he said.
"Tablet and smartphone technology is commonly available and relatively cheap. Many Londoners now have smartphones in their pockets, giving instant access to travel information, bar and restaurant reviews, news and much more.
"Yet a police officer has to radio back to base to find out simple background information about, for example, previous crime reports or information about particular suspects. It seems incredible that officers have this modern technology at home yet when they arrive at work they take a step back in time."
The report further outlines ways to make the Met's ICT spending more efficient. The force aims to reduce running costs of its IT by £60m in just three years.
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