Feeds

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

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Dragon Age Inquisition: Our chief weapons are...
Bioware's fantasy forces in fine fettle
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.