Strathclyde Police to trial state-of-the-art technology

Traditional paper-based notebooks could become a thing of the past as Strathclyde Police becomes the first force in the UK to trial a new integrated computer system.

Feb 28, 2008
By Paul Jacques

Traditional paper-based notebooks could become a thing of the past as Strathclyde Police becomes the first force in the UK to trial a new integrated computer system.

The mobile data system will enable police officers to provide a more efficient service to the public by reducing the amount of time officers have to spend completing forms and duplicating information.

The system was launched last week in the south side of Glasgow, with operational officers in Govan being the first to use the new system.

The system consists of:

  • In-vehicle mobile data terminal (MDT) and printer.
  • Personal digital assistant (PDA) for foot patrol officers to carry with them.

The MDT is a digital touchscreen mounted on the vehicle dashboard. Together with the hand held PDA it will provide police officers with key information at the touch of a screen.

The PDAs will allow operational officers to record crime and vehicle accident reports, take witness statements and notes. The information can then be downloaded onto a computer without duplication.

On returning to the station, the officer will ‘dock’ the note book and the information will automatically be forwarded to the relevant departments. This will save on average one hour per officer, per eight hour shift.

A full training programme is scheduled between March and June. An initial 12 officers will be trained by March 21 with over 140 officers fully qualified in the system by the end of June.

The project forms part of the eight-month national mobile data trial in conjunction with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill attended the launch along with Deputy Chief Constable Ricky Gray and the Convener to Strathclyde Joint Police Board.

Deputy Chief Constable Ricky Gray said: “This innovative step forward sees the force at the forefront of modern day policing, using state of the art technology. Most importantly, it will provide the public with an enhanced delivery of service, which reflects a force committed to reducing crime through modern day policing methods.

“One of the biggest benefits which will come from this initiative is a real impact on bureaucracy, freeing up time for additional patrolling.”

This is a partnership project with the Scottish government, NPIA, Arqiva and KelvinConnect.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “The Scottish Government is committed to delivering a more visible police presence on our streets and in our communities.

“The use of technology by Strathclyde Police to free up officers’ time to police our streets is just the kind of initiative that we want to see. This is about allowing modern technology to help our officers do their difficult job.

“We are determined to see more police officers becoming part of the fabric of the communities they serve.”

Peter Harris, mobile data solutions product manager at Arqiva, added: “We understand the police’s commitment to public safety and develop every new product and service with this in mind. Our systems enable officers more time to patrol, increasing visibility and improving effectiveness by extending access to intelligence information – an objective which is at the very heart of UK police forces.”

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