The current generation of iPads cost somewhere between $269 for a Wi-Fi Air 2 and $1,229 Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Pro but the Metropolitan Police spent around $8.5 million (£6 million) on equipping 641 officers with the devices, according to V3.
Of course, they weren’t the world’s worst bargain – a whole lot of that cost was on back-end integration and custom software for the trial, which ran between July, 2014 and March, 2015.
According to V3, the total costs include $5.8 million on custom software development, around $850,000 on ‘ business and management,’ with just under $145,000 on licenses. That leaves $1.7 million spent on the devices and supporting hardware – making the cost of acquisition and operation around $13,500 per officer equipped.
Following the trial, the Met decided not to push ahead and extend the trial to a further 15,000 to 20,000 officers, as it had previously planned. However, it’s not given up on the idea of replacing paper note-taking and reporting, it’s just not entirely sure that an iPad is the answer.
In the Met’s defense, that’s not all entirely wasted money. Some of the systems put into place will be able to be reused with other devices and the devices that were purchased are still in use as intended.
“Making our officers more mobile through technology such as tablets is a key part of our plans to make savings. It will ensure that front-line officers can maximise their time fighting crime in our communities and enable the continued reduction in the size of our estate,” it told V3.
Exactly what hardware will roll out to officers hasn’t been decided, and it could still end up being iPads, presumably. It’s entirely likely that other systems could end up being even more expensive, or less viable in other ways.