The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is to trial iPad Minis for use by officers in the Hammersmith and Fulham Borough this year.
As part of the Met’s Total Technology IT strategy. released today, the MPS will be trialling 500 iPad Minis for six months beginning in April.
Richard Thwaite, CIO of the MPS, told Computer Weekly the pilot would be used to trial new applications including digitally gathering evidential witness statements, crime reporting as well as email and communication tools.
“It’s a very exciting time for the Met police and for London,” said Thwaite. “And an exciting opportunity to see technology help transform the policing environment, which is very old fashioned with police officers using their notebooks – we’re moving into the 21st century.”
Twaite said the Met is using iPad Minis because Apple is the only officially approved manufacturer of secure devices that can be used in a policing environment.
But he has been told that CESG, the body which has approved Apple devices, will be accrediting Android devices by the middle of the year, which will broaden the Met’s choice of devices in the marketplace, and allow the organisation to choose the best value for money.
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Thwaite said the Met is currently creating applications for Microsoft, iOS and Android. “Everything we’re doing will be device agnostic,” he said.
Following the pilot at the end of 2014, Twaite said his team will need to determine how many devices will be needed to roll out across the entire force. The Met has 20,000 officers, and Twaite currently esitmates 15,000 devices would be needed.
“It depends on their role,” he said. “There’s lots of policing roles out there, there’s not one size fits all.”
Some may be detectives and need laptops instead, while Twaite also needs to determine whether each officer is given their own device, or whether the devices are shared which would reduce the numbers.
“We also need to determine the kind of devices; some will want larger tablets, others will be happy with smartphones.”
This approach fits in with the Met’s agile IT strategy, which allows the Met to respond quickly to new technologies, while providing more flexibility.
The ‘Total Technology’ IT strategy said the revolution in consumer technologies had driven a need to deliver services to citizens in a new and innovative ways.
The strategy was due to be published in April 2013, as the culmination of a 100-day plan to transform the Met’s IT to rectify a “compelling and critical” need for change in the way the force delivers technology, but faced a nine-month delay.
An internal investigation by consultancy Deloitte, completed in October 2012, warned that if the Met did not complete the 100-day plan, including the delivery of the new strategy, it would risk “underachieving and, at worst, could have a destabilising impact” on policing.
The new strategy plans to overhaul the entire IT system of the MPS through a tower model approach. It claims it will invest £200m over the next three years, and will cut ongoing IT costs by 30%.