Plans by Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe to equip officers with 30,000 new mobile devices including smartphones and tablets are to be reviewed by the London Assembly.
The Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee will investigate how the Met can find technology savings of £42m in 2014-15 and £60m in 2015-16 while also buying the new kit.
The Committee will also explore how the force plans to use technology to cut the amount of time officers spend on paperwork, freeing them up to spend more time on the beat.
Committee chair John Biggs AM said: “The Met is facing budget cuts of 20 per cent over the next three years and it is inevitable that technology spending is going to feel the squeeze, but it is clearly also the case that judicious investment in technology could improve productivity and be an aid to change.
“Whether it’s backroom ICT support or the use of innovative new devices like smartphones or fingerprint scanners, the Met will need to ensure that it’s getting the best value for money. We all know that big IT projects often have a habit of getting out of control and falling victim to unforeseen glitches, compatibility problems and ballooning costs.
“Our review is all about ensuring that the Met avoids the pitfalls and gets the most out of the technology budget, because at the end of the day, better deals and smarter systems could mean a more efficient police force and more officers out on the streets.”
The Committee will next week hold the first of two public meetings to question academics and industry experts about best practice, including issues like major ICT contracts and the roll-out of smartphones and tablets.
Representatives from the Metropolitan Police Service and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime will be questioned at a second meeting in June.