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Failed Apple iPad trial cost UK police £6 million

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A Metropolitan Police officer using an iPad

A failed trial to equip UK police with Apple iPads has cost the taxpayer £6 million, a new report reveals.

The staggering sum was revealed in an article by V3 based on the results of a Freedom of Information request submitted to London’s Metropolitan Police Force.

It was discovered that 641 devices were handed out to police officers in the Hammersmith and Fulham areas of London. This was part of a trial that was set up with a view to eventually provide police with between 15,000 and 20,000 iPads.

However, it turns out that the Met has now scrapped plans to roll out the iPads on a large scale, but will retain the 641 iPads for ongoing use.

The £6 million sum is the total cost of the trial, which means each iPad cost the equivalent of £9,360.

ipad proAn Apple iPad

Of course, that isn’t representative of actual hardware costs. V3 reports that £1.2 million was spent on iPads, supporting servers, and accessories between July 2014 and March 2015.

A further £4.1 million was spent on “custom software development”, while £600,000 went to business and management activities, and £100,000 was used to pay for licenses. The report also notes that 12 tablets had to be replaced during the trial period.

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While the iPad scheme may have been scrapped, the Met has yet to decide on future mobile hardware to be used by officers in the field.

“There is ongoing development of a system to identify and roll out mobile technology to additional staff across the Metroplitan Police Service,” a Met spokesperson told V3.

“Making our officers more mobile through technology such as tablets is a key part of our plans to make savings,” the spokesperson continued. “It will ensure that front-line officers can maximize their time fighting crime in our communities and enable the continued reduction in the size of our estate.”

V3 notes that the Met “anticipates being able to move towards the procurement of role-specific equipment later in 2016,” although the spokesperson declined to “speculate about the mobile technology it will end up using”.

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