Delivering efficiency

Frontline officers in the Metropolitan Police Service have now been issued with PDAs as part of the Directorate of Information Strategic Plan to deliver secure and reliable information, which will mean better, faster decision-making.

Jun 30, 2011
By Paul Jacques
Former PCs Deniz Jaffer (left) and Jamie Lewis.

Frontline officers in the Metropolitan Police Service have now been issued with PDAs as part of the Directorate of Information Strategic Plan to deliver secure and reliable information, which will mean better, faster decision-making.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has achieved a key phase of its Directorate of Information (DoI) Strategic Plan 2010/11 with the completed rollout of 3,700 personal digital assistants (PDAs) to frontline officers.

The handheld PDAs offer immediate mobile access to operational databases and electronic forms on the go and have the potential to save up to five minutes of an officer’s time per transaction.

The PDAs have six applications so far, with further apps planned for the future. Current apps include:

•Police National Computer (PNC);

•National Mobile Phone Register;

•Voters’ database to check against the Electoral Register;

•Stop and search/account forms;

•Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs); and

•Collision/Accident Report Books (CARBs).

According to the latest figures, operational PDAs are estimated to be saving MPS officers around 11,700 hours per month, increasing the availability of officers to provide a strong visible presence on the streets.

The most popular applications are exceeding 100,000 transactions a month.

Commander Tony Eastaugh, senior officer in charge of the operational PDA rollout, said: “The commissioner has spoken about our drive to provide ‘better policing for less’ and equipping officers with PDAs is supportive of this.

“With the information they need at their fingertips, it enables our officers to conduct their inquiries quickly and effectively. It also demonstrates how technology is becoming a fundamental part of modern-day policing, helping us to improve the service we offer to the public.

“The time savings, growing usage figures and officers’ enthusiasm for the devices is proof of the value they are bringing to the MPS.”

The PDAs also provide the ability to copy and paste information between forms to save an officer having to re-enter the same information if completing more than one form or inquiry.

The most frequently used applications are PNC checks and the stop and search form. The devices have been issued to officers in roles that would make the greatest use and would benefit the most from the PDAs in their interactions with the public, such as safer neighbourhoods, dedicated teams tackling local crime issues and emergency response team officers. PDAs are also benefiting members of the public, as using direct access to key information can be completed more quickly, helping to minimise disruption to the individual.?

Other key programmes in the DoI Strategic Plan include:

•Implementation of new content management system for the internet;

•Rollout of mobile data terminals (MDTs) to all boroughs;

•Extended rollout of virtual courts;

•Delivery of the Police National Database (PND);

•Development of detection and mitigation technologies for weapons and explosives;

•Taking the lead in delivering the Olympic information, communication and technology (ICT) requirements;

•Delivering service improvement projects, such as the implementation of thin client and virtualisation technologies and shared IT platforms and services.

The plan says that “better quality information will mean better, faster decision-making, bringing more offenders to justice, reducing risk to officers and saving the organisation both time and money”.

Director of information Ailsa Beaton OBE said: “We can no longer afford to respond to every business demand, instead we must have robust ICT plans that directly meet corporate objectives for both today’s and tomorrow’s policing needs within an ever-constraining budget. Delivering value for money is therefore a key driver for the DoI, to this end we will seek to capitalise on current ICT investments and look for gr

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