Ambitious plans to place the latest mobile and online technology at the centre of reporting and investigating crime have been unveiled.
The Metropolitan Police has to save £60m from its IT overheads by 2015/16 as part of wider cuts to its budget which have already seen the closure of police stations and changes to how officers are deployed.
To meet the savings, the force plans to replace its current range of old and incompatible IT systems with new joined-up systems provided under more “flexible” and better value contracts.
Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has committed the Met to using the opportunity offered by the changes to modernise how it operates.
Instead of officers having to complete paper forms, they will in future be equipped with mobile devices on which they can take statements, allocate crime numbers to victims at the scene and take photos of criminal damage and other evidence.
It’s claimed this will save officers time and make it easier for the Met to provide other parts of the Criminal Justice system with the information and evidence needed to secure convictions and support victims.
At the same time the Met’s website will be revamped to allow members of the public to report crime online and via smartphones, including uploading photos and videos, as well as track their case, apply for firearms licenses and pay fees.
Unveiling the force’s “Total Technology” strategy, Sir Bernard said: “We are going to use technology to stop crime, arrest offenders or help victims. We need to keep police officers out of police stations and reduce bureaucracy. Digital policing will help us to do this.”
The plans have been developed in partnership with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime which sets the Met’s strategic goals.
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, said: “The public expect the police to have accurate information on-the-go, and cops deserve the best kit to help them cut crime and serve the public. This strategy heralds a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernise the Met and ensure it is fully equipped for the demands of twenty-first century policing.”