Complications with legacy system slow down upgrade to 8.1 and add costs for extended support
The Metropolitan Police Service is still hooked into using thousands of computers running on Windows XP more than two years after Microsoft ended general support for the operating system.
A Conservative member of the London Assembly, Andrew Boff (pictured), raised the alarm after asking Mayor Sadiq Khan a question on a report from last year that the Met had more than 35,000 desktops and laptops using XP.
Khan confirmed late last month that an upgrade to Windows 8.1 had taken in just over 8,000 desktops with another 6,000 to be changed by the end of September, leaving more than 21,000 on the outdated operating system.
He added that the Met Police is developing plans to deal further with the issue, and that these would include reducing the overall number and disposing of equipment that cannot support Windows 8.1.
Boff has made clear that he does not regard the situation as satisfactory.
“Operating systems age more like milk than wine, and Windows XP is well past its sell-by date,” he said.
“The Met should have stopped using Windows XP in 2014 when extended support ended, and to hear that 21,000 computers are still using it is worrying.
“My major concern is the security of Londoners’ information on this dangerously out-of-date system, but I would also like to know how much money the Met have wasted on bespoke security updates.”
A spokesperson for the Conservative group in the London Assembly told UKAuthority it has now received information that the Met is paying £1.6 million for continued support of Windows XP up to April 2017.
In response, the Met issued a statement saying it is undergoing a refresh of its IT infrastructure equipment, but that it is complicated by its legacy software.
“Replacements or remediation for this software, which are compatible with a more modern operating system, have to be ready before the roll out is completed to ensure continued operational effectiveness,” it said, adding: “At this stage we cannot give a date for the completion of the programme, but it is being progressed as rapidly as possible.”
It also said that it has no security concerns around its continued use of XP, and that: “Upgrading our legacy systems to Windows 8.1 was the only approach recommended by Microsoft as there was no direct upgrade path to Windows 10.
“Once completed it will be more straightforward to make the next upgrade to Windows 10 as they share a common kernel. We are starting to work with Microsoft on the upgrade to Windows 10.”