The police have signed a national framework for mobile services and devices with Vodafone, in a move designed to make it cheaper and easier for individual forces to deploy new services.
The Vodafone agreement is with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). Under the agreement, Vodafone has just won a four-year contract with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to continue to support the force's network of mobiles. In addition, Vodafone will now manage some of MPS' BlackBerry devices.
Peter Kelly, enterprise director for Vodafone UK, said the deal would help forces "improve productivity, drive efficiencies and reduce costs".
In 2009, the government said the police would spend a total of £80 million on mobile devices for officers on the beat.
At the time, the NPIA had embarked on the second phase of a programme to equip police forces across England, Scotland and Wales with handheld computers. With additional funding, the NPIA extended the mobile initiative to benefit a further 25 forces and two agencies that were not already part of the programme, in addition to the 27 forces already switching on devices.