There’s something about government and technology that seems inevitably to lead to disaster.
Projects cost too much, or end up being cancelled once millions of pounds have been spent.
Perhaps we should be grateful the well-meaning attempt to provide police officers with smartphones, at a cost of just £71 million, was as successful as it was.
Some forces did extremely well, with every officer receiving a phone.
But West Midlands Police was able to provide just one in 100 officers with a phone, thanks to the bizarre way the money was distributed.
MPs have described the scheme’s execution as “haphazard”.
That’s one way of putting it.
It’s a particular shame because West Midlands Police has proved rather good at making the best use of Twitter and blogs, the type of thing smartphones come in useful for, to communicate with the public.
But if Ministers ever feel the need to pay for more smartphones, should remember that West Midlands Police is first in the queue for funding.