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Met Police PCs take 30 minutes to boot

Systems date back to the '70s
Wed Jun 19 2013, 17:29
Two UK policemen

THE LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE has revealed it uses PCs that take 30 minutes to boot up and systems dating back to the 1970s, giving the government a run for its money.

Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley revealed the dire state of Met Police information technology (IT) during a Budget and Performance Committee meeting in London on Tuesday, admitting, "The nature of the infrastructure meant that for many officers around the Met to log on to their computer was taking more than half an hour."

Chair of the committee John Biggs said it was "shocking" that officers had to spend so much time waiting for their computers to boot.

"The public want to see officers on the street tackling crime, not struggling with antique technology back at the station," he said.

"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."

Rowley went on to reveal that some of the IT systems in use at the Met are over 40 years old, meaning the only people that understand the systems and languages used are nearing retirement.

"We have a collection of systems that are individual good ideas wired together over 40 years. One goes back to the 1970s. Even the language the systems are written in - most people who can write that language are nearing retirement. It is slightly frightening," he said.

While this is a sign that the Met Police needs an IT upgrade sooner rather than later, Rowley explained that this isn't as easy as it sounds. With 90 percent of the technology nearing end of life it will be "difficult and expensive" to replace.

However, Rowley called for the Met to implement mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, which will prove much more useful than the current handheld and, by the sounds of it, desktop systems in use.

He said, "If there's evidence out there that our officers do a better job tackling crime, then we ought to be going for modern smart devices and be device and platform agnostic so we don't tie ourselves to the likes of Apple or Samsung.

"We can take photos there and then, and have them embedded within the statement. It's a much slicker process. This saves money, makes officers more effective and feedback on tests says the public see it as more professional."

This revelation comes just weeks after it was revealed that the government wastes many hours waiting for PCs to boot and spends an average of £6,000 annually per PC. µ


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