Met's technology under fire

Crime in the capital is higher than it could be due to decades of poorly planned technology investment in the Met. That's according to the London Assembly.

Technology changes 'long overdue'

The author of today's report into the Metropolitan Police's use of new technology said:

The Met has been paying over theodds for technology for years – much of which has gone on maintaining acollection of out-dated and increasingly inefficient systems put together overthe last 40 years. This has got to change.

“Every other person has asmartphone in their pocket and yet the Met are only just starting to look atrolling out similar tools. They should also be working on predictive crimemapping, like that used in Los Angeles, to get officers in the right place atthe right time to deter criminals and reassure the public."

– John Biggs AM, Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee

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Met's key areas for improvement

A report from the London Assembly says the Metropolitan Police must use more new technology to help fight crime. It says this could save the force time and money. The report highlighted key areas to improve the force's use of technology:

  • Mobile technology: The report welcomes plans to introduce 20, 000 mobile devices to officers over the next year. It says if they're implemented properly, they could save time and paperwork by allowing officers to file reports on the go.
  • Predictive crime mapping: A computer programme that uses historic crime statistics and other facts - such as the weather - to predict the areas where crime is most likely to occur. A six month trial in Los Angeles showed crime rates decreased by 12% and vehicle crime by 25%.
  • Mobile technology: The Committee also calls for the force to do more to make the most of social media, like Twitter, which offer a cheap and effective platform to reach out to communities.

Met lags behind in new technologies

Metropolitan Police badge
Metropolitan Police badge Credit: PA

Today's report into the use of technology in the Met compares the force to others across the world. It says not enough has been done to bring innew technologies – like predictive crime mapping, mobile handheld devices andsocial media – to make working practices more efficient and reduce crime.

Smart policing_, by the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee argues that, faced with a 20 per cent cut in spending over the next three years, the Met can no longer afford to spend 85% of its ICT budget on maintaining old technology, some of which dates back to the 1970s.

The force has a total of 750 separate systems, 70% are already redundant, rising to 90% by 2015.