A staggering 27,000 PCs in use by the Metropolitan Police still run the ancient Windows XP operating system, despite an IT modernisation programme.
Windows XP, introduced in 2001, no longer receives official security updates, but remains in use, even in large deployments, despite a major effort from Microsoft to get individuals and businesses to move to Windows 7, 8 or 10.
The Metropolitan Police has now been told to speed up its modernisation programme as the out-of-date PCs represent a security risk, according to London Assembly member Andrew Boff.
"Operating systems age more like milk than wine, and Windows XP is well past its sell-by date. The Met should have stopped using Windows XP in 2014 when extended support ended, and to hear that 27,000 computers are still using it is worrying," said Boff.
"My major concern is the security of Londoners' information on this dangerously out-of-date system, but I would also like to know how much money the Met has wasted on bespoke security updates."
Boff also questioned the Met's choice of operating system upgrade - not to Windows 7, the most widely used supported version of Windows with which everyone would be familiar, or Windows 10, the latest version, but Windows 8.1.
"I also question the choice to upgrade to Windows 8.1; this is neither the newest nor the most used version of Windows. Staff are likely to be more familiar with Windows 10, but most importantly it will be supported further into the future," he said.
Boff got the numbers and the information on the situation direct from the mayor, who confirmed the position and said that there will be 21,000 machines still running Windows XP by the end of September.
He added that his manifesto mentioned a more efficient use of resources, and that the Met is currently in the process of clearing out antiquated PCs that cannot run Windows 8.1.
Technology use at the Met has been beset by problems over the years. V3 reported recently on the force's failure to implement a planned deployment of iPads, despite a long pilot of some 600 devices with frontline officers.
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