London’s Metropolitan Police service has apparently abandoned plans to issue iPad minis to 15-20,000 frontline officers after spending a total of £6M ($8.58M) on a trial of just 641 devices. This means that the trial ended up costing the taxpayer £9,360 ($13,397) per iPad.
The Inquirer obtained the information using a Freedom of Information request.
The Met spent £1.2m on hardware during that time, including the iPads and supporting servers and accessories, £4.1m on custom software development, which included the databases to support mobile operations, £600,000 on business and management activities and £100,000 on licences. The costs also include the replacement of 12 tablets during the trial period …
Just one month ago, the Met Police’s mobile technology lead Adrian Hutchinson was singing their praises.
We are a modern crime fighting machine, but our officers still have to make hand-written statements and then type them up back at the office […] With the iPads, officers can take statements electronically, embed images, get people to sign with a fingerprint and load all this into the system on the scene instantly […]
Emergency response officers had been spending a lot of time in police stations doing routine admin. That’s not the right place to do it. So now they can do that on the tablet, in their car, in an area we know is a crime hot spot.
No reason was given for abandoning the plans despite what had been described as a successful trial. A police spokesperson simply said that the 641 iPads remain in use, but the service decided against the planned rollout across the service.
An unspecified proportion of the money spent was on backend systems and software which would be usable with other mobile technology, but as yet no decision has been reached on what form that technology might take.