£80 Million Smartphone Rollout to UK Police Forces Criticised

The proposed £80 million plan to equip the UK police forces with BlackBerry smartphones has been subject to severe criticism by the National Audit Office (NAO).

According to the NAO, the proposed scheme has failed so far to deliver the true value of the massive amount of money spent on it by the government. It also stated that while some of the police forces were provided with much more smartphones than they actually require, others were left with a pretty limited supply. In fact in some cases, the ratio between available smartphones and officers were found to be as high as 1:100.

Worse even, the audit found that only one if 5 forces were using their devices efficiently. The NAO, however, confirmed that the scheme was proving helpful for some forces as their officers were able to spend an extra 18 minute per shift out of the station.

"In the majority of forces, the benefits have not so far extended beyond simply allowing officers to spend more time out of the station," Amyas Morse, head of the NAO said, as reported by The Telegraph.

"There is still the opportunity to achieve value for money, though, if more forces use the technology to improve the efficiency of their processes and make savings in their back-office activities," he added.