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August 11, 2009

South Yorks bobbies get remote access boost

Crime fighting in real-time

By Steve Evans

South Yorkshire Police is to offer its frontline officers on the beat real-time access to police records through their mobile phones, reducing the amount of admin they need to do at the station.

The scheme, developed by Vodafone and Airport, should help officers to identify a person, vehicle or location as well as complete form such as ‘stop and account’ – where an officer stops a member of the public but does not search them.

It is hoped this will reduce the need for police officers to complete forms at the station as well as offering an increase in productivity. According to recent analyst reports it can take as long as five weeks to enter a ‘stop and account’ form into the database and mistakes on the form can make this process even longer. It is estimated that 855 working days were lost during 2008 inputting the forms.

The officers will be equipped with BlackBerry devices that are connected to the Police National Computer (PNC). IT staff can remotely ‘kill’ a device if it is lost or stolen.

Sergeant Simon Davies, project manager at South Yorkshire Police force, says: “We have been looking at ways to streamline the way we work, as our processes are either paper based or rely on IT systems, only accessible in the station. Enabling our officers to access key information on the move is a major step forward and we’re expecting to see the community benefit from a more visible force continually patrolling the neighbourhoods.”

The new service is set to go live this October, with 600 police officers benefiting.

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