Almost 70% of Met Police's technology platforms obsolete
London Assembly committee calls for forthcoming strategy to focus on innovation and cost savings
The Metropolitan Police's forthcoming IT strategy should help replace some of the force's antiquated hardware and platforms, focusing on how it can benefit from new technology, according to witnesses to the London Assembly.
Addressing the Assembly's Budget and Performance Committee, assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said that some Met officers still have to wait more than half an hour for their desktop computers to log on, due to the failure to create a long-term IT strategy.
Rowley explained that almost 70% of the force's technology platforms are currently obsolete, a figure that is expected to increase to 90% to 2016. He added that the Met's technology was "not in a good place", with over 400 individual IT systems currently being used, some having been put in place as long ago as the 1970s.
Rowley is leading the Met's review of its technology, which is expected to be published this summer. The force currently spends £327m every year on technology. The London Assembly's Budget and Performance Committee is currently undertaking a review of how the Met can improve the way it uses technology while cutting IT spending by £42m in 2014-15 and a further £60m in 2015-16.
Faith Boardman, Non-Executive Adviser on the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, said that the force 'simply did not possess a long-term IT strategy', and 'was now reaping the rewards of a failure to look at technology in the round'.
John Biggs AM, Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee, said, "It is shocking that some police officers in London are forced to wait more than 30 minutes just to turn on a desktop computer."
He added, "The Met cannot afford to go on like this. Its forthcoming strategy must address these problems while focusing on the potential that new technology offers, to drive down costs while increasing productivity and boosting public confidence."
Ailsa Beaton, who has served as the Met's chief information officer (CIO) since 2000, is understood to have stepped down in March 2013, according to a press office spokesperson. Tracy Evans is acting as CIO on a temporary basis while the Met searches for a permanent replacement.