Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has predicted the force’s deployment of mobile technology will buck the trend of failing public sector IT projects and deliver benefits both to victims of crime and officers.
The force is planning to issue all frontline officers with data connected tablets on which they’ll be able to record details of crimes, photograph evidence and issue crime reference numbers without needing to return to base.
Sir Bernard told MayorWatch the Met had combined “the best IT leaders with the best police leaders” to oversee the project and he was “confident that our investment will pay off.”
Although the move is expected to allow officers to do more while on patrol, the commissioner said an increased role for IT in London’s policing would not be a justification for cutting officer numbers despite expected further budget cuts.
Sir Bernard’s comments came as he and Mayor Boris Johnson announced that the sale of New Scotland Yard had raised £375m, some of which would pay for the new digital policing initiative.
Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG)’s bid was £125m more than the site’s guide price and means taxpayers have seen a threefold return on the sum paid to buy the freehold in 2008.
The sale is part of a wider estate disposal programme aimed at helping the force meet £500m of cuts to its budget. Additional cuts could see the force having to save a further £800m in coming years.
As previously announced, the Met will move to a new, purpose built HQ located in the Curtis Green building on Victoria Embankment.
In addition to the sale price, taxpayers will receive up to £100m in stamp duty and could gain further if Westminster Council uses planning powers to secure contributions for local improvements from the developers.
Mayor Johnson said: “The sale of this under-used and outdated building means we can now not only protect that rich heritage, but also fund the new HQ and kit out bobbies with the latest mobile technology to secure the future of the force.
“This landmark deal allows us to preserve the past whilst giving today’s Met a vital cash boost so our officers can go on keeping London safe.”