back to article Met Police puts iPads, Windows and Android mobes on trial

The long-awaited arrival of mobile devices in the Metropolitan Police is still another two years away, interim chief technology officer of the Met Stephen Deakin has told El Reg. The Met is currently trialling 850 iPads. However, Deakin said the force is also assessing commodity devices running Windows, Android and iOS. "We …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    Lock them all up and throw away the key.

    Viva la BlackBerry!

  2. Roger B

    Get 'em a decent case!

    Purely from a protective case point, I'd say go with Apple and get them all Griffin Survivor cases. If they wanted waterproof kit I'd say go with Android and give everyone Sony Xperia tablets and phones. If everything is currently Windows based and you want to keep that then go Windows.

    Phones with replaceable batteries, microSD cards, a good camera and a screen that can be used with gloves or a styles/dabber should be a requirement as well.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Get 'em a decent case!

      I like that they are looking at choice.

      We sell iPads with the Griffin case to some of our slaughter house customers for stall management. The cases work very well - although I still wouldn't use an iPad, given a choice.

      We also have customers that only use Android.

      Internally we use everything - although Surface Pro 3s seem to be very popular at the moment, as they replace the desktop and the tablet in a single device (desktop dock with dual external monitors for the desktop, keyboard case for typing on the move and finger and pen input for meetings and "proper" tablet apps.

      1. Roger B

        Re: Get 'em a decent case!

        Same, we sell and use the Griffin cases, great pieces of kit, but trying to tell customers that a big(ish) bulky case on their oh so slim iPhone is a good idea is hard work, not that we mind, we just charge for another repair. Do you have any case suggestions for the Surface? something like a Griffin Survivor would be fantastic, but current models are all leather or leather style folio cases, look smart, but offer little protection.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Get 'em a decent case!

          We use them for sales and support, so they aren't exposed to the knocks that the iPads and Android devices are. We use Hugg cases for transport, but they are generally used in the office, in sales meetings or in customer offices, when doing support.

          As to getting the users to use cases, we haven't had any problems so far. They are happy to have something they can carry around (instead of running to a fixed mounted 15" industry terminal), the iPad is also a lot thinner and cheaper than the industry PC tablets they used to have -. about 4 times as thick, rubber cased, Intel Core i3 jobbies for over 2K, running Linux.

          If they complain, we suggest dropping the iPad in a vat of pigs blood and see how well it works afterwards... The Griffin case just needs hosing down afterwards. :-D

          The problem with the current SP3 is that it is not passively cooled, so there aren't any really tough cases, because they also have to have slits to allow the hot air out, which means that it also lets dust and fluids in,..

          With the Surface 3, we might see some cases offering more protection.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Get 'em a decent case!

      Don't you mean: Get 'em a decent USE CASE!

      Personally, if the device can't be used one handed, whilst walking down the street and the display isn't readily readable in sunlight and at night, then it's an instant fail.

      So that is probably an e-ink Android tablet with reading light, something like , shame it's yet to reach production.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A public service IT project

    Simple answer. They'll chose whatever is the most expensive, and least effective.

    1. 's water music

      Re: A public service IT project

      Simple answer. They'll chose whatever is the most expensive, and least effective

      You are confusing effect with cause. The cause is corruption and graft (and occasionally good old-fashioned incompetence).

      1. PrivateCitizen

        Re: A public service IT project


        The cause is corruption and graft (and occasionally good old-fashioned incompetence).

        I was always brought up with "graft" meaning working hard..... I actually had to google to learn it also meant corruption.

        This left me genuinely surprised so thanks for opening my eyes a touch.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Is it 'cos dey is Black(berry)?

      1. h4rm0ny

        >>"Is it 'cos dey is Black(berry)?"

        Given we're talking about the Met, here... probably.

    2. Waspy

      "Any idea why Blackberry was excluded from consideration?"

      I thought this too, BB10 devices would be as suitable as any other (and much better really imho, definitely more secure). I suspect it's because the general (wrong) consensus is that, even amongst many IT managers, BlackBerry has gone bust.

  5. TechnicianJack

    Rugged Android Equipment

    Hopefully they will choose the Android route instead of Apple or Windows Phone. The reason being that there is already Android based rugged equipment designed for law enforcement, construction, military etc, which is designed to survive drops, rain and general abuse. There is also appropriate accessories for those, such as vehicle mounts and other related hardware that already exist, rather than having to be procured later. It is also likely that these would have replaceable batteries, which would prevent the devices having to be left on desks/in the police car to charge, rather than being where it's needed.

    The arguments about the competitors are that Apple products are generally fragile, expensive and have no replaceable/repairable parts. Yes, you could put an armoured case on an iPad, but underneath, it's still a fragile device that will likely get damaged at some point. They're also not waterproof, so would likely need a case that would fully enclose it. This would potentially make the touch screen difficult to operate. Also, when the device inevitably gets damaged, it would be an expensive replacement/repair that would have to be returned to Apple, rather than the Police's IT department. Finally, if any accessories were required, they would have to be procured by a likely expensive process to custom build what was required. All of this ancillary equipment would likely then have to be scrapped due to Apple changing the shape/size of the device or the shape/location of the connectors. (And knowing the amount of time it takes to procure this equipment, the design would change half way through the process, causing loads of money to be wasted redesigning and reissuing replacement kit).

    The same argument goes for Windows Phone, in that it's still a fragile device in a rugged case, although there are a couple of rugged phones available with this OS. There's also the potential that it will be discontinued if its market share stays low or decreases due to lack of demand or competitors, leaving the police to risk using unsupported equipment or having to pay for another procurement process.

    Overall, the Android equipment is probably the most suitable for this sort of work. There is a possibility that this will have the highest cost due to the heavy duty requirements of the devices. However, it will probably outweigh the other devices, as there is a potential that Apple and Windows devices would be expensive to procure and adapt for their intended use, and they may spend more time being returned for repair or replacement due to them not being designed for rugged use. The Android equipment would likely also be supported by the manufacturer, being able to supply new devices, accessories and spare parts for the duration of their use. This would be the be the best option to spend taxpayer's money on.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Rugged Android Equipment

      My off-the-cuff opinion (which is probably worth as much as the final commissioned report but a few-hundred thousand quid cheaper, I expect) is that it should either be Android (but based on CyanogenMod) or Windows Phone. Apple is out of the running both for lack of customizability and lack of experience and support for the Enterprise. WP has been designed with Enterprise support in mind and Android can be made so because it's open.

      Ruggedability should be something of a non-factor in the decision as it would be relatively easy to re-case both Android and Windows devices and with a lucrative market like policing / security forces, there would be no shortage of OEMs happy to do so.

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Rugged Android Equipment

      The article doesn't mention phones, only Android/iPhone/Windows 'mobile devices'

      They have a Windows ecosystem and they're already trialing iPads - therefore it is likely that the Met will end up with tablets.

      There are tablets with IOS/Windows/Android available. Apple doesn't have rugged designs but rely on 3rd parties - I haven't seen any rugged iPad so won't comment on their durability, but rugged Androids and Windows tablets are readily available. There are plenty of rugged devices available on both camps.

      The type of their current ecosystem and the funds available will partly dictate the choice. If they need to run Windows software natively then the Windows camp obviously has an advantage there.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rugged Android Equipment

      History lesson.

      Bernard Hogan-Howe likes his iPad. The MPS DOI dances to his tune. They pick Apple and iOS. Then they have a WTF moment and pivot to HTML5 but still haven't sorted out the secure gateway that has been a problem for years. They do this by spending huge amounts of money per month on contractors but making very little progress on the core IT systems that cause most of the problems. They fire the CEO (second in two years). Hire PwC who wants to have multiple empires. Hide progress with constant reorganisation and changes in operating model and yet after 5 years be stuck with the same old systems that caused the problem in the first place, only with a few iPad apps running on insecure infrastructure.

  6. msknight

    You know...

    I'm probably going to get flamed for this, but I actually applaud them on this.

    While others have jumped off the deep end and spent loads of dosh on kit and software that is ill suited for the job, it sounds on the face of it like they're going the right way about things.

    OK, what they're trialling now will be out of date before they even start trialling them, but at least they aren't about to jump in to the fire like some organisations do.

  7. h4rm0ny

    I know exactly how this will go.

    An extensive investigation by an expensive third party that has little to no representation from the people currently involved and familiar with what is being done. This will culminate in a report that recommends whatever vendor the decision maker is friends with the CEO of.

  8. macjules

    At last!

    Finally, at least SOMETHING is being put on trial by the Met Police.

    Step 1. (Now) "We are trialling iPads and iPhones"

    Step 2. "Our infrastructure enquiry report says that Apple hardware is not compatible with our servers"

    Step 3. "We are building a new software system that will ensure that our iPads and iPhones are compatible with our existing software. We are partnering this in conjunction with Capita at a cost of £1Bn"

    Step 4. (10 years time) "Given the demise of the iPhone and iPad we are now exploring other options for mobile technology before Capita roll out our new software.

  9. PrivateCitizen


    "The Met is currently in the process of outsourcing its number of IT staff from 800 down to 100."

    Hmmm..... I cant see how this will cause any problems at all...........

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Might it be worth using some MPS officers for your stock picture, instead of British Transport Police (BTP)?

    Just a thought....?

  11. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge


    Any hardware should be rugged enough to withstand "just falling down the stairs"

  12. Nash

    i wonder...

    who will be footing....The Bill

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