Cumbria invests in smarter policing

Cumbria Constabulary is issuing 4G smartphones to all frontline officers and certain members of other staff as part of a technology investment designed to assist with policing duties and enable officers to be more visible in the community.

Jul 9, 2015
By Paul Jacques

Cumbria Constabulary is issuing 4G smartphones to all frontline officers and certain members of other staff as part of a technology investment designed to assist with policing duties and enable officers to be more visible in the community.

Officers will use the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 devices running on EE’s 4G network as part of their daily duties, replacing the iconic pocket notebook. The 4G smartphones are equipped with specialised policing apps and services to cut down on administration and assist in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

The force has invested approximately £1.8 million into mobile and digital working, provided by Cumbria police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes and the Home Office Police Innovation Fund. The digital transformation is expected to save the equivalent of £3.3 million over three years, helping to put officers back onto the street.

Chief Superintendent of Territorial Policing Steve Johnson said: “Cumbria Constabulary polices one of the largest geographical areas in England and Wales, which covers difficult terrain. As a result, call and data coverage and communication quality are important factors in mobilising the workforce in order to increase the amount of time officers are able to spend in the community, keeping people safe and dealing with crime.

“EE is providing excellent coverage for calls and data in Cumbria and its 4G coverage offers faster speeds and greater quality. The increased mobilisation of our officers involves the completion of documents outside police stations. The EE data super-bundle provides value for money for Cumbria Constabulary, as all officers and staff are able to utilise the data with no wastage and no extra monthly costs.”

A pilot group tested the devices operationally during April and the rollout of the smartphones began at the end of the month.

Chief Supt Johnson said the advancement in technology was an exciting one for the force that would have a positive effect on the service offered to communities, enabling it to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of policing on the front line.

“Currently officers spend a large amount of their time on duty in police stations writing up paperwork and duplicating this across a number of forms for one incident,” he said. “The smart devices resolve this issue by enabling officers to input data once and use this for a number of forms. This change will see officers spend more time in the community and out of police stations.

“We continue to look for ways to revolutionise the way we do business and create efficiency savings that will ultimately benefit the communities we serve long into the future.

“We are confident that this investment into mobile and digital working will enable the constabulary to save money as well provide a better policing service to the people of Cumbria.”

Mr Rhodes said it was an exciting phase for the constabulary and one that would improve officer visibility and reduce the bureaucratic burden, adding: “Investment in innovative projects such as this plays a crucial part in being able to sustain an effective police force in challenging economic times.”

Ettienne Brandt, director of Corporate and Public Sector at EE, said Cumbria Constabulary’s innovative use of 4G smartphones to replace the traditional police notepad was not only saving the force money, but also helping it spend more time making a difference to the community.

In January EE launched new micro network technology in Cumbria to provide voice, as well as 3G and 4G data services, to remote areas with no need for broadband or cables.

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