A program to distribute Research in Motion Ltd. (RIMM:US)’s BlackBerrys and other mobile devices to U.K. police to boost efficiency produced costs more than 100 times the savings it achieved, a panel of lawmakers said.
The U.K. government gave police forces 71 million pounds ($111 million) between 2008 and 2010 to buy more than 41,000 devices to let officers spend more time on the beat and cut down paperwork, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said in a report published in London today. The move, intended to produce 125 million pounds worth of savings, has so far “managed a woeful 600,000 pounds,” the lawmakers said.
“Although some forces have used the devices to improve efficiency, most have not,” Margaret Hodge, the opposition Labour Party lawmaker who heads the panel, said in an e-mailed statement. “And although most forces reported that the devices allowed officers to spend more time out of the station, some said that using the devices actually led officers to spend more time in the station.”
The committee said reductions in funding for policing as part of government efforts to narrow the budget deficit meant the use of technology to make savings is essential. About 1.5 billion pounds -- 10 percent of all the money spent on policing -- goes each year on information technology, according to the report.
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