Police Given 41,000 BlackBerrys in Money Saving Scheme. No Money Saved

By Gary Cutlack on at

A seemingly well-intentioned plan by the government to sped £71m on equipping police forces with 41,000 BlackBerry phones to save money has flopped, with the scheme saving some £600,000 in the end. It was supposed to save a whopping £125m.

The idea was to cut down on paperwork and allow officers to spend more time pacing up and down the roads to help reassure old people that society hasn't gone completely to hell, but it flopped. Big time.

The House of Commons public accounts committee claimed the result was "woeful" thanks, in part, to the operation of the system by the Home Office and the National Policing Improvement Agency. It was a mess all round. Some forces had too many phones, meaning all grades of staff had them, while others got none.

Committee chair Margaret Hodge said of the scheme: "Although some forces have used the devices to improve efficiency, most have not. And although most forces reported the devices allowed officers to spend more time out of the station, some said using the devices actually led officers to spend more time in the station."

So that's £71m spent to "save" £600,000 and it had the opposite effect in some places. Well done everyone. Why not try taxing pasties again to recoup the embarrassingly huge losses? [BBC]