NAO: British bobbies wasting £80m BlackBerry stash
Some forces share 1 among 100, some have 150 for 100 officers
Brit coppers are not getting enough benefits from their £80m splurge on BlackBerrys and other mobile devices, the National Audit Office has said.
The NAO reckons that the bobbies are only getting a "basic level" of benefit from the programme to equip them with mobes, mostly that they can pound the pavements for a bit longer.
Only one in five forces in the UK are using the devices effectively enough to improve their business and operation processes and cash savings from the programme have been limited so far.
"The programme has on average increased the visibility of police officers to the public and officers spend more time out of the station, an estimated 18 minutes a shift, although there is considerable variation," the office said in a canned statement.
"Of the 32 forces responding to an NAO survey, only 10 claimed some form of cashable savings and these are relatively minor. However, some forces are predicting greater savings in the future, for example, by reducing control room costs," it added.
One of the problems with the programme is that the mobiles haven't been distributed evenly, so they can't really be used to improve processes and save money in back-office functions.
"There was no assessment of the number of devices that each force would need to deploy to maximise the benefits, or the impact of partially equipping forces," the NAO said. "The Programme Board’s decision to allow all forces to receive funding meant that the majority did not receive all of the funding they applied for and could not deploy devices as they had planned."
The office found that some forces had devices available to 1 per cent of their officers and community support staff, while others had 151 per cent saturation. Over half of the forces only had enough mobes for less than half their officers.
The NAO argued that the programme had focused on getting the BlackBerrys and PDAs out to the officers as quickly as possible and at a reasonable cost, but it hadn't really examined the need for the devices or how they should be used.
As well as the £80m handed out by the National Policing Improvement Agency, 23 of the forces had invested an additional £29m since 2004-05.
Since the programme was launched, the Police Service has had its central budget cut by £2bn, or 20 per cent by 2014-15, so forces now need to find savings wherever they can.
But using mobiles wasn't going to be able to provide these savings across the board until more officers got devices and they could dump traditional processes, which at the moment are still being maintained.
"The Department and the Police Service need to recognise that only a minority of forces have been effective in maximising the benefits from the investment," the NAO said. ®
John, you've clearly never been involved in procurement..
In any large corporate or government funded org the way procurement works is that the sales gimp for the vendor humps the leg of the budget holder in the target customer until they give in and say "I need to demonstrate how this investment will yield cost savings". The sales gimp then goes round the target org and finds all the expensive inefficiencies they can and makes up completely unrealistic ways in which their magic tech could, in another universe, downhill with a following wind, reduce these inefficiency costs. These costs, by the way, are guessed at by the sales gimp because the corporate / government funded agency is completely unable to explain any of it's costs, it is too busy being an inefficient corporate (or in the case of the Met killing civilians and evading prosecution). The sales gimp then adds up the total guess (erm cost) and this is presented as the "saving".
Fast forward a couple of years and shock, horror! none of the savings have materialised but the sales gimp has his / her commission and the purchasing budget holder has moved on to another job based on the enormous imaginary cost savings they "achieved" in their previous role, having carefully legged it before anyone realised there was nothing behind the curtain.
The fact that the NAO finds any improvement should be cause for celebration for anything that has gone through government procurement, look on the bright side, they could have spent all that money with Capita....
Some idle googling and playing in Excel
Number of Police (entire UK Aug 2011) 137,000
Total Spend on Mobile Devices
80m + 29m = £109m
(Source: NAO / this article)
Max number of users per B'berry Enterprise Server = approx 2000
So 137,000 users / 2000 = 69 servers @ £5000 TCO per server = £345,000
109,000,000 less 345,000 = £108,655,000 left to spend on the actual devices
So Device spend available per officer = 108,655,000 / 137,000 = £793 per device
Average no contract price of the newest highest end Blackberry: £440
So required actual spend to equip 137,000 officers each with their own £440 Blackberry = £60,280,000
So profit made by whoever got this plum contract = 109m - 60m = £49million pickpocketed out of your taxes.
Why not issue them with PlayBooks? At least they could use them to hit (sorry, placate) offenders as they fall down the steps.