Officers in uniform or in plain clothes are encouraged to use the technology available to them to work remotely and in public areas where they can be seen and approached by the public.
Commander David Musker, from Frontline Policing, said: “We are committed to using mobile technology to free up time for officers to tackle the crimes that really matter to the public, and have nearly completed our roll-out of mobile devices to frontline officers across the Met.
“We’ve issued 13,100 laptops and more than 22,000 Body Warn Video cameras (BWV) as part of our commitment to smarter working, as well as around 16,700 tablets that allow officers to improve the way we deliver service to the public and offer a more flexible way for our staff and officers to complete their work.”
By the end of next month, the Met will have rolled out 6,000 Identity Not Known Biometrics (INK) devices, a piece of equipment that scans suspects’ fingerprints and can confirm identities within 60 seconds if they are already known to police and Immigration databases.
Commander Musker, added: “We have listened to the concerns of the public and one of the ways we are responding is by giving mobile kit to frontline officers and telling them that we want them, expect them, and will support them, in working remotely and away from stations if it is appropriate.”
Officers have also been encouraged to tweet from their local accounts to say where they are working and to encourage the public to come and engage with them.
Enabling officers to work from public spaces such as coffee shops, parks and from their cars, will also act as a deterrent to potential criminals and help reduce violent crime, a top priority for the Met.
Commander Musker, said: “Whilst we encourage officers to work from public spaces, we will also need the help and support from the public.
“We all want officers to be visible and tackle crime, however we (the police) and the public need to work together to make this initiative a success.”
Using their laptops and tablets, officers are able to add crime reports, take witness statements and complete road traffic reports when travelling, or in a public space where people can converse with them. In some cases, officers have, and will be able to, take a tablet home at the end of their shift and be able to flexibly work from a variety of locations.
One of the Met’s Business Change Managers, Chief Inspector John Fish, said: “I have spoken to officers who have highlighted how using the tablets have really helped them manage their work/life balance. They have been passengers on a way to a scene, updated a victim on the progress of their case, and in some cases, have taken a tablet home so that they are home in time to put their children to bed.
“The purpose of this new flexible working mentality that the Met is bringing in is not only to help Londoners and victims of crime, but also to help officers.
“Police work is unique. It is highly rewarding and offers diverse opportunities, however, it is also one of the most physically and psychologically challenging sectors to work in. We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our workforce and believe that by promoting this freedom to work more remotely, officers will achieve a much better work/life balance.”