The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has announced plans to spend £200m on radically overhauling its IT use over the next three years, including the use of 15,000 tablets, big data tools and cloud computing services.
An order for 500-600 iPad Minis has already been placed as part of this, V3 has learned.
The Total Technology 2014-17 strategy has been called a "once in a generation" project by the deputy mayor for policing and crime Stephen Greenhalgh, and while it will see major spend put forward, it hopes to cut overall IT costs by 30 percent.
The plans come after the use of tech at the Met was slammed by the London Assembly as "outdated" and "inefficient" in a hearing last year.
Using tablets is one of the main ways the Met aims to improve policing in the capital, and the force claims the time it will save will be the equivalent of having 900 more officers on the streets.
A trial of tablets will begin in the spring in Hammersmith and Fulham, with a London-wide rollout set for the autumn.
While an order for 500-600 iPad Minis has been placed for this trial, a spokesman for the Met said this didn’t mean only Apple devices would be used, and suggested a choose-your-own-policy of other devices may be made available in future.
As well as the use of tablets the force also plans to replace dozens of outdated IT systems with fewer core platforms that will reduce paperwork, duplication and provide a better set of evidence that can be used in court, the MPS said.
The Total Technology strategy also includes more insight into the way the Met hopes to embrace the new era of IT to better equip officers, ranging from big data to a dedicated ‘app store’ for officers.
• Introduce big data analytic tools and standardised reports, as well as self-service facilities, directly available to MPS officers and staff as needed
• Provide an MPS app store for officers to access publicly available applications
• Rationalise and make best use of our data centres
• Make use of ‘cloud’ services where appropriate, to reduce costs and provide robust scalability
Richard Thwaite, chief information officer for the MPS, acknowledged this was a hugely ambitious project, but said that if carried out successfully it would be of enormous benefit to the service and the public.
"Such wholesale changes in the way we use technology are extremely challenging but they present fantastic opportunities both to deliver more and save money," he said.
"Our new agile ways of working will allow for shorter delivery lead times, whilst more flexible contracts with a tougher governance approach will ensure the technology we buy is 'roadworthy' and stays fit for purpose in the years ahead."
The Met also said it would use social media more effectively to inform the public of any incident and that it would create online forms so victims of non-emergency crimes could provide information including photos and videos of any incidents.
Cameras worn on the body will also be used to help gather video evidence in real time, with trials expected to begin in the spring across 11 London boroughs.
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