Feeds

15,000 London coppers to receive new crime-fighting tool: an iPad

£200m program to include 'predictive' tech à la Minority Report

Mobile application security vulnerability report

London's Metropolitan Police are about to be equipped with a new crime-fighting tool: Apple's iPad mini.

"We want the officers out there fighting crime on the streets rather than sitting in a police station tapping on a keyboard, not solving anything," the force's head flack Richard Thwaite told the Financial Times (registration required). "Even if they are in Starbucks keying in details, then at least they are out there, visible and accessible and reassuring to the public."

This reassurance will begin with a trial program of 600 of the crime-fighting fondleslabs being handed out to officers in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the first part of what the Met announced on Friday to be a £200m ($327m) program that will over the next three years provide over 15,000 coppers with Apple tablets.

The iPads will be loaded with apps developed by the force, and will give the boys in blue the ability to record crimes and statements by witnesses, along with providing location-based information on gang members and recent crime victims, plus directions to the the nearest hospital emergency room – although one might hope that policemen might know that bit of info already.

"Officers will even have an app to order new uniforms," the FT reports.

The Met expects that the technology investment will result in a savings of 30 per cent on their existing IT expenditures, but the FT points out that similar programs have been far less than successful. "The National Audit Office found in 2012 that a Home Office scheme to equip officers with more than 40,000 mobile devices," they write, "had produced savings of just £600,000 out of a projected £125m."

Rather than hanging out in Starbucks and reassuring the public, reports concluded, officers were actually spending more time in the office after being equipped with those mobile phones, not less.

Thwaite, however, is bullish on the program, telling the FT that not only will the tablets provide the force with crime stats gathered throughout London – not just in the plods' working boroughs, as is currently the case – but that those stats will also be used to provide "predictive" maps of future crimes, a program not unlike the "Precrime" squad in the 2002 film Minority Report.

Before you pooh-pooh such capabilities, know that a similar program tested in Los Angeles found that property crimes in the area under test dropped by 12 per cent in one year, while in nearby neighborhoods where more traditional policing remained the order of the day, it rose by 0.5 per cent.

Whether such crime-fighting tools will lower London's crime rate remains to be seen, but The Reg predicts one result of the addition of iPads to the Met's arsenal: an epidemic of Flappy Bird addiction among the constabulary. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.