50,000 mobile devices on the beat

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has reached a key milestone by helping police forces equip a further 10,000 frontline officers with handheld computers – three months ahead of the final delivery target.

Feb 3, 2011
By Paul Jacques
South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Lauren Poultney with Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest and OK9 Wellbeing dog Buddy with their Leadership award.

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has reached a key milestone by helping police forces equip a further 10,000 frontline officers with handheld computers – three months ahead of the final delivery target.

This now brings the total number of devices being used by police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) across the UK to over 50,000, exceeding expectations by 10,000.

The devices provide officers access to information and intelligence allowing them to act on it while on the beat. Working more efficiently and reducing trips back to the police station is on average freeing-up officers’ time by around 30 minutes per shift.

Feedback from forces since delivery started in 2007 has been very positive. Frontline officers have been reporting how the devices are helping to free them from their desks to spend more time on the streets.

This achievement marks the ending of the NPIA’s very successful three-year Mobile Information Programme, which has seen the agency, working together with the police service, respond to the need for less bureaucracy in the police service and deliver a solution to forces in a phased national roll-out, ahead of schedule and within budget.

The programme, which is managed by the NPIA on behalf of the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), draws to a close at the end of next month and has provided forces with training advice, support and workshops to demonstrate the benefits of the devices to officers across the country.

Nick Deyes, head of Information and Communications Development at the NPIA, said: “This achievement highlights the effectiveness of the NPIA in using 21st century technology to help frontline police officers fight crime.

“Even more officers now have access to databases such as the Police National Computer (PNC), command and control and intelligence systems while out on patrol. This means less need for officers to return to the station and more time to spend on the frontline, increasing visibility and reassuring the public.”

The Home Office provided £50 million capital investment for the initial roll-out of mobile devices in September 2007, with a further £30 million allocated in December 2008 under phase two.

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