LONDON'S METROPOLITAN POLICE SERVICE has rolled out just 641 iPads since announcing plans to provide up to 20,000 Apple tablets to front-line police.
The INQUIRER's sister site V3 submitted a Freedom of Information (FoI) request which showed that the Met has yet to decide on the mobile hardware it will provide to officers, despite previous plans to roll out between 15,000 and 20,000 iPads.
The rollout was a limited trial between July 2014 and March 2015 to find out how police could use mobile devices to aid operations and to determine the hardware that offers the best value for money.
The Met spent £1.2m on hardware during that time, including the iPads and supporting servers and accessories, £4.1m on custom software development, which included the databases to support mobile operations, £600,000 on business and management activities and £100,000 on licences. The costs also include the replacement of 12 tablets during the trial period.
A spokesperson from the force said that the 641 iPads remain in use and have been well received, but the trial did not result in the Met deciding to roll out iPads across its entire force.
This means that £6m was spent on a trial that yielded no decision on suitable hardware and systems for the Met. It is worth noting than some of the software and back-end systems are reusable and not strictly limited to use with the iPads.
The Met explained that the pilot is in part ongoing as it collects information and assesses the use of suitable mobile hardware.
This extends beyond just looking at tablets, and is part of the Met’s wider Total Technology Strategy that runs until 2017.
"There is ongoing development of a system to identify and roll out mobile technology to additional staff across the Metropolitan Police Service," a spokesperson told V3.
"Making our officers more mobile through technology such as tablets is a key part of our plans to make savings. It will ensure that front-line officers can maximise their time fighting crime in our communities and enable the continued reduction in the size of our estate."
A spokesperson for the Met told V3 that the force cannot speculate about the mobile technology it will end up using, nor is there any strict deadline as to when it will make such a decision.
But the spokesperson told us that the Met anticipates being able to move towards the procurement of role-specific equipment later in 2016 and to determine exactly how officers will best use mobile technology. µ
The INQUIRER's sister site V3 is hosting the Digital Technology Leaders Awards 2016 in London in June - and it wants YOUR nominations. The deadline is 22nd April, so enter now.
Oh and it'll also help give aural pleasure
But it might still not be enough to make virtual reality super appealing
And a ridiculous competition
Now you can talk to your silly-looking earbuds too