UK police spending on mobile services almost matches the total paid for networks and fixed line communications, a survey by Police Market Report has revealed
The amount paid to exclusively mobile companies fell just 14% short of the £22.4m paid to the three largest broadband, voice and network operators over the six month survey period.
A data model, constructed by the online information provider Police Market Report, examined spending in 28 forces in England and Wales.
The model, which excludes the Metropolitan Police, identified a total mobile vendor spend of £19.193m, more than 86% of which is split between Airwave, which provides TETRA voice and data services, and Vodafone, followed by Telefonica O2 and EE.
Significant investment of £1m plus is indicated by some force figures, while others reveal a mix and match approach to vendor selection.
The results come as the Home Office announced last week it is ready to press ahead with the next stage of the ESN (Emergency Services Network) procurement. Four separate contracts will be tendered to deal with user devices, control rooms, vehicle installation and air-to-ground communications.
The Police Market Report model will provide a benchmark for existing Airwave costs as vendors work out offerings which include voice and 4G functionality. It also indicates total spending on mobile is likely to overtake fixed line as a proportion of expenditure.
The latest raft of business change plans all point to greater mobile working as a way to maximise use of resources. Estates rationalisation, departmental mergers and frameworks will see further pressure on broadband and fixed line costs.
The gap between fixed and mobile may already be closer because the numbers do not take into account any mobile offering from BT.
However, the picture is not clear cut, according to the report. Future customer service delivery plans will place heavy demands on networks and bandwidth. Chief police officers want contact management costs dragged down by more web based crime and incident reporting.
John Rowland, Police Market Report editor, commented: “Traditional voice calls for service are costly, especially since most don’t involve emergencies. Chief officers want to save money by diverting more traffic online and it’s here there will be growth opportunities.”
The Police Market Report model examined 168 sets of data from 28 forces. A total of 21 forces supplied spend data for Airwave; 28 for BT; 20 for Vodafone; 17 for EE; 14 for Telefonica; 8 for KCOM and 13 for Virgin Media.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.policemarketreport.co.uk