Latest Public Sector News

30.01.12

Mobile police devices provide ‘minor’ cash savings

The Mobile Information Programme, to equip frontline police officers with mobile devices has achieved a basic level of benefits, but not significant cashable savings, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) suggests.

The roll-out cost £80m, which provided around 41,000 mobile devices by March 2011 aimed at letting officers spend more time out of the stations and increasing police visibility to the public.

The programme is funded by the Home Office and managed by the National Policing Improvement Agency. The devices are used to complete and submit crime intelligence reports.

However, an NAO survey shows that only one in five forces were using the devices effectively and the cash savings created were limited. Additionally, 22 out of 32 forces questioned cited drawbacks with the technology.

Savings were expected to be created through reduced bureaucracy and increased efficiency, but only 10 of the forces claimed some form of cashable savings, and these were relatively minor.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “The roll-out of mobile technology to police forces was achieved against a tight timescale and at reasonable cost. Too little consideration was given, however, to the need for the devices or how they would be used. In the majority of forces, the benefits have not so far extended beyond simply allowing officers to spend more time out of the station.

“There is still the opportunity to achieve value for money, though, if more forces use the technology to improve the efficiency of their processes and make savings in their back-office activities.”

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