‘Smart revolution’ to deliver visible policing

Staffordshire’s ‘smart revolution’ in mobile technology is expected to be completed next month – three months earlier than originally planned.

Nov 25, 2015
By Paul Jacques

Staffordshire’s ‘smart revolution’ in mobile technology is expected to be completed next month – three months earlier than originally planned. All frontline police officers, police community support officers (PCSOs) and Specials at Staffordshire Police are being issued with new smartphone and tablet devices loaded with Airwave’s suite of applications called Pronto to give them the information and tools they need at their fingertips. This will keep police on the beat and avoid them having to return to police stations to complete paperwork, submit reports or statements and access files.

More than 1,400 officers and PCSOs are already using the devices following a decision by Staffordshire’s police and crime commissioner Matthew Ellis to accelerate the rollout, which started in April, due to very positive feedback. Early indications are that over the next 12 months officers will begin to save significant amounts of time and be more visible in communities.

Around 2,000 tablets and smartphones will eventually be issued as part of a million pound contract with EE to provide the mobile technology.

Officers are now able to perform far more activities away from police buildings through a range of apps, which are tailored to their role.

“It’s early days but the feedback I’ve had from officers has been positive. They’re amazed at how good the technology is and the potential it has to free them up to be out of police stations and on the streets,” said Mr Ellis.

“Over the next 12 months, police visibility will rise because of these new devices. That’s why we’ve brought the rollout forward – police really want this technology so they can do an even better job in their communities.

“When fully bedded in, this technology will help free-up an extra 250,000 hours of police time a year, which is the equivalent of an extra 100 officers on duty.

He said deploying 4G-connected devices has already boosted efficiency, in some cases allowing officers to cut administrative time on jobs that could take days down to minutes.

“By providing high-speed connectivity in vehicles as well, we’ll be able to turn their police vehicles into hotspots – giving officers, support teams and, in the future, partners, vital access to information on the move.”

The ‘connected vehicle’ from EE integrates an industrial 4G router and powerful high-gain antenna into cars and vans, turning them into wireless hotspots that can connect any device, from laptops and tablets in utility vehicles to EKG (electrocardiogram) machines in ambulances.

Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said: “I can’t stress how significant the mobile data project is for Staffordshire Police. This is only the start, but the ability to free our officers and staff from completing paperwork in police stations means that they can spend more time in our communities keeping people safe and reassured.

“At present seven key police tasks, including mobile witness statements, missing persons and stop and search, have been developed. With a tablet or smartphone and miniature printer, our officers can carry out, securely, the most important tasks wherever they are. And over the next year we will be adding significantly to the number of processes we develop, enabling our officers to spend more time on the beat. It’s an exciting time – for the police and for the communities we serve.”

She said more than 4,700 electronic witness statements have already been taken – replacing the bureaucratic paper-based system. Other success stories include an officer carrying out a vehicle check and issuing a fixed penalty notice in three minutes when it would previously have taken 30, and a detective who was able to send live video from an arson investigation scene to get a second opinion from his supervisor.

In the next few weeks, officers will be able to be assigned with, and complete, crime tasks – including victims’ contracts, which agree the way victims are kept updated following a crime – electronically.

The mobile devices will also allow officers to share information – such as domestic

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