Met Police still using XP on 35,000 computers

Police on patrol

The Metropolitan Police is still using Windows XP on more 35,000 of the force's computer, despite the system being discontinued by Microsoft a year ago.

Motherboard uncovered the information from a Freedom of Information request. When the government-run organisation was asked which departments were using the old operating system, it said it could not break down the usage by department.

"This is because many systems are shared and do not necessarily belong to an individual. MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] colleagues are able to hot desk between buildings. Therefore this information you seek is not held," it said.

However, a custom agreement with Microsoft has ensured that the Met's systems will be supported for the next year, even though the machines running the 14-year-old operating systems are likely to be less secure that those running Windows 7 or 8.

A Metropolitan Police Spokesperson told IT Pro in a statement: "The [Metropolitan Police Service] has an active upgrade programme to move users onto the latest released Windows 8.1. operating system. However, since Windows XP support will still be required the MPS has requested a direct option with Microsoft to continue a Custom Support Agreement for Windows XP for the next 12 months. This is currently being negotiated directly with Microsoft."

PC World reported that the government paid Microsoft 5.5 million for an additional 12 months' support last year, but neither the government nor Microsoft has revealed how much it will cost to extend this support for another year.

In March, it was revealed that Windows XP was still running on 19.15 per cent of computers after the out-dated system grew in popularity by 0.22 per cent between January and February this year.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.