Inefficient technology on the beat costing UK police £221m

Inefficiencies in technology are costing UK policing up to £221 million a year. Officers are wasting time and money while on the beat because they cannot access systems and records outside of police stations, a study by O2 and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) found.

Apr 2, 2014
By Paul Jacques

The research highlights inefficiencies of up to 193 hours per officer per year due to a lack of connectivity.

Frontline officers have to leave incidents or call-outs while on the beat 61 times a year because they do not have the technology they need, the ability to create reports, or access to records in real-time. This wastes around 65 hours per officer, per year in trips to and from police stations.

According to the research, officers do not have the necessary tools to undertake tasks during, or immediately after, 45 per cent of external visits. As a result they are required to revisit tasks after the event, at which point the average officer takes 35 minutes longer to complete them. Eleven per cent of external meetings by officers are unnecessary follow-up visits. The research claims better connectivity in this area could save up to 45 hours per year.

The report adds that giving officers full access to relevant digital technology could result in a boost in productivity equivalent to hiring an additional 5,500 junior police officers.

Billy D’Arcy, managing director of public sector business at O2, commented: “Police forces across the country are under increasing pressure to identify millions in savings, while maintaining support in their local communities and this pressure is only set to heighten. These findings highlight the crucial role technology has to play in helping forces tackle this challenge.”

In partnership with Capita, O2 has launched its Blue Light Managed Mobility system that allows officers to access information wherever they need to through a range of smart devices, expert account management, connectivity and mobile device management (MDM).

As part of the package, O2 is distributing Capita’s SmartWorks app and platform, which provides officers with access to back-office systems, including record management systems and the Police National Computer (PNC).

This package aims to improve the safety of officers and the general public as officers will be better placed to make informed decisions. It will also help frontline officers to provide more information and targeted support to victims and witnesses of crime.

Officers can securely submit reports via the app rather than typing up reports back at the police station.

Sean Massey, divisional managing director at Capita, justice and secure services, said: “We know that the nature of policing is changing and that, as the number of frontline officers reduces, processes need to be more efficient and information needs to be more immediately available to those on the beat. We have created an app that works securely on any device and any platform and provides a fast route to everything an officer needs to work safely, quickly and while on the move.”

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