Crime in London is higher than it should be because Metropolitan Police IT and technology systems are out of data and ineffective, the London Assembly has warned.
Smart Policing, a report by the Assembly's Budget and Performance Committee, suggests that decades of poorly planned investment in technology means crime is benefiting from the Met's lack of modern systems.
The report suggests three main areas the Met could use technology more efficiently - mobile technology, predictive crime mapping and social media engagement.
With London's police force facing a 20 per cent reduction in budget over the next three years, Smart Policing warns that the force can't afford to spend the current figure of 85 per cent of its ICT budget on maintaining old technology systems, especially when some date back to the 1970s.
The force has 750 systems, 70 per cent are already classed as redundant, with the figure rising to 90 per cent by 2015. The London Assembly has therefore warned that the Metropolitan Police needs to change its approach to technology if it's to properly tackle crime.
"The Met has been paying over the odds for technology for years - with much of the spending going on maintaining collections of out-dated and increasingly inefficient systems put together over the past 40 years. This has got to change," said John Biggs, chair of the Budget and Performance Committee.
He argued that the Met needs to seriously look into properly adopting mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and examine techniques used by more technology-savvy police departments around the globe.
"Every other person has a smartphone in their pocket and yet the Met are only just starting to look at rolling out similar tools. They should also be working on predictive crime mapping, like that used in Los Angeles, to get officers in the right place at the right time to deter criminals and reassure the public.
"At the end of the day, this kind of investment costs money and with plans to cut spending by 20 per cent over the next three years, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) urgently needs to determine what resources will be available to the Met to improve its technology. The force simply cannot afford to get this wrong again," Biggs continued.
He added that efficient spending on ICT could provide benefits throughout the entire Metropolitan Police force.
"Furthermore, if investment in ICT can improve productivity, which it clearly can, then hopefully we can move beyond the seemingly endless Mexican stand-off over police numbers and instead focus on overall capacity. Not cutting numbers, but making spending decisions based on the safest possible outcome from the resources we have. Such an approach is long overdue," said Biggs.
The Metropolitan Police has welcomed the report and its recommendations.
Earlier this year it was revealed that The Met is using desktop PCs that take 30 minutes to boot.
The Home Office has previously suggested individual police authorities should be able select their own technological solutions, with private sector input if necessary.