Latest Public Sector News

30.05.12

Police BlackBerry scheme makes only ‘woeful’ savings

A scheme to give police officers smartphones and streamline bureaucracy has failed to achieve its expected £125m savings, the Commons Public Accounts Committee has reported, instead making just £600,000 – less than 1% of the money spent on the project.

The Mobile Information Programme ran between 2008 and 2010 with £71m invested through the Home Office and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). The plan was to purchase 41,000 BlackBerry phones for officers.

The programme aimed to save £125m by reducing paperwork and freeing up officers for frontline duties, but has only saved £600,000.

The committee found that while some forces were all equipped with the devices, others had none and there was not enough effort taken to establish whether the new equipment worked effectively.

Committee chair Margaret Hodge said: “Although some forces have used the devices to improve efficiency, most have not. And although most forces reported the devices allowed officers to spend more time out of the station, some said using the devices actually led officers to spend more time in the station. The department and agency does not know why.

“Not enough attention has been paid to outcomes. The programme was supposed to contribute £125m to cashable savings by the police service. So far it has managed a woeful £600,000, less than 1% of the public money spent on the scheme.”

The report recommends clear guidance is needed on what needs to be purchased and why for the future.

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