Two UK police officers on duty

How to ensure your IT technology is up-to-date

One of the key pain points for UK police forces is the issue of keeping technology up to date. Due to budget restrictions, forces often sweat their assets until they have no option but to replace them. Given that police forces don’t know what their budget will be each year; this creates problems with planning IT investments.

Here we answer how you can use this year’s budget to ensure your IT technology remains up to date for the next 3 years.

Financial options

One of the problems you face with using old technology is once you get into the habit of using an old system, it becomes harder and harder to break out of this routine. This is because legacy systems and software have often been used for so long they are now imperative to your operations and changing them at this stage will result in a temporary downturn in output. We already know investing in the latest IT technology brings with it multiple benefits such as increased productivity, allowing your force to better serve the public, cost savings, and increased security amongst others.

Cash

Capital investment is a popular route to technology investment but one that is perhaps decreasing in popularity in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that cash is king and should be kept in reserve for core activities.

The main selling point behind why purchasing decision-makers will decide to use cash is because of the simplicity of the process – generally, decisions can be made quickly and only involve one stakeholder.

Cash purchases tend to work for smaller customers with less complicated requirements. There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly, cash purchases don’t provide a true solution that covers the entire lifecycle. Larger customers, and police forces in particular, will have more complicated requirements such as asset tracking, data deletion, and support/warranty requirements.

Furthermore, these customers will typically have users with different technology requirements. When you factor in these additional complexities, it often makes more sense to seek out the support of an expert financial solution provider who can provide all of these services from a single source. Therefore, saving you the time of purchasing the equipment and then finding an additional IT solution partner as extra.

Lastly, with a cash purchase, what happens to your IT hardware in 3 years? Probably not a lot as it’s likely you haven’t planned this far ahead. Sure, if you have the budget in 3 years’ time you can simply purchase the latest technology again, but what happens to your old technology? Where does that go? What happens to the data that is stored on those devices?

 These are important questions which should’ve been considered at the start of the procurement cycle. Again, a solution to these problems is to utilise a specialist in financial solutions who can build these requirements into the solution at the start, while providing you with a pre-defined regular refresh cycle usually every 3 – 5 years.   

Bullet lease

Police forces budgets typically operate on a ‘use it or lose it basis’. This can leave you in a position whereby you start making irrational purchasing decisions to justify why you need a similar budget for the following year. However, a bullet lease allows you to utilise your current budget without offsetting the creation of a long-term technology procurement strategy.

With a bullet lease, the entire sum of the lease is due up-front in a single rental payment. This approach secures the equipment using today’s budget while taking advantage of the residual value that has been invested to create a lower day one cash outlay (in some cases savings of 20%). No further payments are due over the agreed term, and this solution offers security in the equipment when budgets are unknown for future years. Finally, a bullet lease allows you to switch from a capital expenditure model (CapEx) to an operating expense (OpEx), helping to create a regular refresh cycle.

Bullet lease advantages

  • Flatline investment leading to better budget control and takes away the boom-and-bust nature of capital investment
  • Provides you with a regular refresh plan meaning you’ll never have to deal with obsolete IT kit again
  • Lower maintenance costs – by ensuring your technology is always up to date it is, therefore, less likely to breakdown, resulting in less downtime for you and your users
  • Secure end of lease process – benefit from secure transportation and certified data erasure, allowing you to quickly and effectively dispose of your tech.

If your police force struggles with outdated systems and technologies and wants to create an IT procurement plan that can guarantee your officers will always have the latest hardware, please get in touch with us.

If you’d like to find out more, feel free to download our full report on how police forces can maximise their IT budget here. At CHG-MERIDIAN, we ensure that you are always at the forefront of the technological revolution with affordable solutions tailored to your needs.

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