Barnsley officers get smart to boost time on the beat

South Yorkshire Police is on target to have all frontline officers and
police community support officers (PCSOs) equipped with smartphones by
February 2011.

Sep 2, 2010
By Paul Jacques

South Yorkshire Police is on target to have all frontline officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) equipped with smartphones by February 2011.

Already, all frontline officers and PCSOs in Barnsley now have access to police records on the move after PC Jason Pearson, from Wombwell police station, recently became the 1,000th officer to be trained and issued with a BlackBerry smartphone.

The device allows officers to access real-time police information and records to identify a person and vehicle and will eventually allow officers to complete certain forms.

South Yorkshire Police has also rolled out a bespoke BlackBerry application to identify disqualified drivers using false details in an attempt to evade conviction.

Sergeant Simon Davies, project manager at South Yorkshire Police, said: “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.”

Work is currently underway to add further functionalities to the device, such as submitting intelligence reports on offenders and gaining information about incidents officers have to attend.

Sgt Davies added: “Reducing the amount of time that officers need to spend filing reports back at the station will give them more time to spend out on patrol, delivering an improved service to the community.”

By the end of the year, South Yorkshire Police plans to add ‘mini’ fingerprint scanners to the BlackBerry. This will allow officers to confirm an individual’s identity at the roadside within two minutes, enabling faster identification of those who are known to the police.  

Should the device be lost or stolen it is automatically locked and password protected within 15 minutes. Once reported missing, the IT department is able to remotely ‘kill’ the device to prevent abuse or breach of data.

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