Scotland Yard spending $360M on tablets, trial purchase comprising 600 iPad minis

By , Feb 10, 2014

New Scotland Yard (sign 001)

Scotland Yard – yes, Scotland Yard – has joined the post-PC revolution by announcing a tablet investment worth £200 million, or about $360 million, part of which is the trial purchase comprising 600 iPad minis.

Scotland Yard, which is a metonym for the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, the territorial police force responsible for policing most of London, said the iPad minis will be used as a replacement for police notebooks.

As part of the trial program, officers in Hammersmith and Fulham will be using Apple’s tablet to record crimes and taking witness statements using custom-made apps by the Metropolitan Police…

According to the Financial Times, the Metropolitan Police will also use special apps to retrieve mission critical data like directions to the nearest police department, nearby gang members, the number of repeat victims in any given area and more.

There will even be an app to order new police uniforms!

Richard Thwaite, the Met’s chief information officer, said:

We want the officers out there fighting crime on the streets rather than sitting in a police station tapping on a keyboard, not solving anything. Even if they are in Starbucks keying in details, then at least they are out there, visible and accessible and reassuring to the public.

The plan calls for a cool 15,000 tablet devices being distributed to police officers. The initiative is expected to save Scotland Yard up to 30 percent versus the current system.

Ultimately, Scotland Yard wants to put an end to data being “siloed” in individual boroughs, and “open up a London-wide crime database which can be used to produce ‘predictive’ maps of offences before they happen”.

Not everything’s rosy, however.

London police (image 001)

Last year, the Met forces were given smartphones but constables were reportedly “unlikely to take their gloves off to use a phone at 3am in the rain,” the report noted.

Also, this:

Despite these high hopes, precedents are not auspicious. The National Audit Office found in 2012 that a Home Office scheme to equip officers with more than 40,000 mobile devices had produced savings of just £600,000 out of a projected £125m.

Bizarrely, the NAO was told by forces that some officers were spending more time in the office after being given the phones, rather than less.

Some drawbacks notwithstanding, this is actually great news.

The legendary ineffectiveness of the police forces stems in part from outdated technology and the officers’ inability to access information databases on the go.

For the most part, we’ve seen Apple’s device transform education, content creation, boardrooms, governments and a few other important industry verticals.

With that in mind, there really is no compelling reason why police forces shouldn’t use mobile devices to improve their effectiveness other than security-related concerns.

2013 iPad mini 2 (Retina, three up, profile, front, back)

As Apple’s iOS software is universally deemed the most secure mobile operating system out there, strong security measures on the backend coupled with custom-made apps should assuage these security related issues.

In my view, the only major obstacle to such initiatives could be that police forces around the world are not very savvy when it comes to modern IT technologies.

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  • Aden

    Why is this not in the main page

  • Raashid

    Lol, post-PC my a55…a Tablet is a PC (Personal Computer) form-factor, nothing more, nothing less. Post-PC era is just another of Apple’s reality distortion field…

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      You don’t see how a little training couldn’t fix that? Training is expensive especially if you have to train an entire work force. In addition to this the custom apps would need to be re-written. Why spend all this money when a system using iPads has already been established?

      • Raashid

        If training for the toyPad is expensive, don’t see why they went to waste people’s tax on it. They should stick to what’s familiar; Windows 7. That way, no need to waste time dumbing down and rewriting their apps for ARM tablets.

        “Why spend all this money when a system using iPads has already been established?”

        Perhaps ’cause the iPad is incompatible with software they already use…not sure what you imply there.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        1. Windows 7 (afaik) isn’t optimised for tablets
        2. iOS is familiar enough to most people so a minimum amount of training is required
        3. If they were to use Windows 7 they’d still have to write apps for it so what difference is using iOS going to make?
        In addition to the above licensing costs are expensive for Windows 7. Windows 7 = expensive, iOS = free (free as in it doesn’t cost anything since it comes with the device)

      • Raashid

        1. Optimized for touch? Please, nothing stops them from making legacy desktop apps touch friendly like Office 2013. The program UI is all that needs to be made touch friendly.

        2. I’m confused, you say training is expensive, then you say iOS is familiar enough. Which is it? Training for a so-claimed “familiar” OS shouldn’t be expensive. The difference is there’s a 92% chance they already have apps for Windows deskop-only PCs, those would work fine on a Windows tablet; including those running Windows 8.

        Regarding licensing, dude, have you been living under a rock? All windows PCs come with a Windows license. They probably already own a bulk enterprise license for all their work stations, so, if they want Windows enterprise on the device, nothing stops them from using that same license.

  • MacGuru16

    This is great!