Decades of poor IT spending is enabling preventable crime, says report (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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London Assembly report says Met spends too much maintaining systems up to 40 years old
Preventable crimes are happening in London because of decades of poor spending on computer systems, the London Assembly has warned.
The Met is operating with out-of-date, ineffective and overly-expensive systems, according to a report released this morning.
It says technologies such as predictive crime mapping, mobile handheld devices and social media are not being used enough and London’s police, as a result, lack efficiency and are not reducing crime as much as they could be.
Having raised similar concerns in June, John Biggs, Chairman of the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee, also said too much money is being spent across London maintaining systems that are too old for purpose.
“Every other person has a smartphone in their pocket and yet the Met are only just starting to look at rolling out similar tools,” he said.
“If investment in ICT can improve productivity, which it clearly can, then hopefully we can move beyond the seemingly endless Mexican stand-off over police numbers and instead focus on overall capacity.”
Responding to criticism of the Met’s IT systems in June, Waltham Forest Neighbourhood Policing Chief Inspector Chris Nelson said borough computers had been recently upgraded.
He said the vast majority of computers in the borough are now new, but admitted that up to four systems borough officers regularly use do not communicate with each other and created duplicate work.
Waltham Forest police also use a Twitter account to communicate their activities.
The report welcomes the planned introduction of up to 20,000 mobile devices in the next year and highlights the success of predictive crime mapping in Los Angeles – a computer programme using crime statistics to predict areas where crime is most likely to occur.
Twitter is also recommended as a cheap and effective platform to communicate with the public.
Borough police have been contacted for comment.
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