Police criticised for slow take-up of technology

A group of MPs have criticised the police for spending too much time on paperwork and not investing enough in technology to help them.

A group of MPs have criticised the police for spending too much time on paperwork and not investing enough in technology to help them.

The Home Affairs Committee published a report this week on how the police use their funding - and concluded it is not being spent effectively.

The report stated, "We consider that the proportion of police officer time spent on paperwork in each of the last three years, at about 20%, remains unacceptably high. There has been insufficient progress in introducing personal digital assistants, and we recommend that chief constables should ensure this technology is introduced in all forces as a matter of urgency."

The criticism comes after a 40% rise in total police revenue expenditure in real terms between 1996 to 1997 and 2006 to 2007, from £8,578m to £12,015. The report said, "On the basis of the data currently available, it is difficult to assess how effectively the increased spending on the police in recent years has been deployed."

But the report also quotes the Association of Police Authorities which said, "We have quite a good record of introducing a whole range of technology - like Airwave, a £1bn system, and at the same time we are implementing automatic number plate recognition, fingerprints, ID systems, a whole series of improvements in command and control and trying to join up with the rest of the criminal justice system."

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