Lack of technology on the beat costing UK police £221m

  • New study reveals inefficiencies of up to 193 hours per officer per year due to a lack of connectivity
  • Giving officers full access to relevant digital technology could result in a boost in productivity equivalent to hiring an additional 5,500 junior police officers
  • Research marks the launch of a complete mobile package for UK police forces from Capita and O2, including a mobile platform to securely access central systems remotely

Britain’s police are wasting precious time on the beat as a result of not being able to access systems and records they need outside the station. The new findings from O2 and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) mark the launch of a new service from O2 and Capita, which allows officers to access crucial information on the move using their digital technology.

The report reveals that frontline officers are still battling against a severe lack of connectivity which is impacting their ability to perform day-to-day tasks:

  • A frontline officer has to leave encounters on the beat or call outs to incidents 61 times a year as they don’t have access to the technology they need, or the ability to create reports and access records in real-time. This wastes up to 65 hours per year in wasted trips to and from base[1].
  • 11% of external meetings undertaken by frontline police officers are unnecessary follow-up visits. This is a result of poor access to key information and communication tools during a primary visit. Up to 71 hours per year could be saved from having better connectivity in this area.
  • Officers do not have the necessary tools to undertake tasks during, or immediately after, 45% of external visits. As a result they are required to revisit tasks after the event, at which point the average officer takes 35 minutes longer to complete them.  Better connectivity in this area could save up to 45 hours per year.

To help the UK’s police forces tackle these issues O2 and Capita are partnering to provide a complete mobile package, which allows officers to access crucial information from wherever they need to. O2’s Blue Light Managed Mobility solution includes a range of smart devices, expert account management, connectivity and mobile device management (MDM) which officers need to work securely. As part of the package, O2 is also exclusively distributing Capita’s SmartWorks app and platform, which provide officers with access to back-office systems, including record management systems and the Police National Computer (PNC).

This package aims to improve the safety of officers and the general public, as officers will be better placed to make informed decisions. It will also help frontline officers to provide more information and targeted support to victims and witnesses of crime.

Paper audit trails will be a thing of the past, as officers can securely submit reports via the app rather than typing up reports back at the office.

Billy D’Arcy, Managing Director of public sector business at O2, commented:

“Police forces across the country are under increasing pressure to identify millions in savings, while maintaining support in their local communities and this pressure is only set to heighten. These findings highlight the crucial role technology has to play in helping forces tackle this challenge.

“Through our Blue Light Managed Mobility Service, we’re helping put the right technology in the hands of frontline police and working with Capita to provide access to the tools and information they need. This will allow officers to spend more time in the places that need them most – working with the communities they work hard to serve and protect.”

Sean Massey, divisional managing director, Capita, justice and secure services, said: “We know that the nature of policing is changing and that, as the number of frontline officers reduces, processes need to be more efficient and information needs to be more immediately available to those on the beat. We have created an app that works securely on any device and any platform, and provides a fast route to everything an officer needs to work safely, quickly and while on the move. Our partnership with O2 allows us to provide police forces with a managed service delivered via an award winning network with unrivalled technical support.”


[1] Calculated from average time taken to travel from base to meeting/site, based on responses from mobile task workers and mobile knowledge workers to a survey of 1,000 middle-managers undertaken between November 2013 and December 2013.