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Police mobile working spend tops £50m

13 October, 2014

Police in England and Wales will spend an unprecedented £52m on mobile data in the current financial year.

It will be targeted at forces where a majority of officers cannot carry out key tasks on the move, notably remote updating of crime systems.

The money, part of a drive to meet the digital policing by 2016 target, is bolstered by more than £11m of government innovation funding, according to figures from Police Market Report, the specialist online newsletter.

Metropolitan Police, who are piloting around 500 mobile devices, have budgeted more than £24m as part of their Total Technology modernisation project.

Applications piloted include remote witness statements and crime recording. The trials will be endorsed by inspectors from HMIC.

Their Core Business report, published last month, found mobile witness statements and crime recording are available to the majority of front line officers in fewer than half of forces.

Other remote applications, notably stop and search, mobile fingerprints and intelligence submissions have also not yet reached the bulk of officers in most forces. 

Mobile working is a major part of business transformation programmes being put together to grapple with shrinking budgets.

The point was underlined by MPS Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, who has reviewed the new mobile search function which, if all goes to plan, will be rolled out across the force.

 “This is going to be the most important and critical piece of technology for the front line officer we have ever delivered, it is that important.”

Other senior MPS staff believe the new generation technology under development could be successfully marketed to other forces.

John Rowland, editor of Police Market Report, commented “there are pressures which could still derail things. Not all the technology is ready to go and effort isn’t focussed on a single task. Around 20 of the separate force pilot schemes underway are for body worn video, rather than witness statements.”

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