Leap forward

Warwickshire Police was the first force in the UK to deploy the TETRATab C Series, purchasing 60 devices last summer to be used by response officers and other teams. The units connect to the force’s Citrix-based network and use in-built SIM cards to communicate over the Vodafone mobile network when out of the office.

Feb 14, 2013
By Paul Jacques

Warwickshire Police was the first force in the UK to deploy the TETRATab C Series, purchasing 60 devices last summer to be used by response officers and other teams. The units connect to the force’s Citrix-based network and use in-built SIM cards to communicate over the Vodafone mobile network when out of the office.

Officers pick up a device when they commence their shift and take it with them on patrols, logging on through a single sign-on interface to access over 20 core programs, including the Police National Computer (PNC), the automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) system and the force’s command and control system.

To keep costs down and ensure optimum security and efficiency, Warwickshire uses a thin client model, with all systems and applications hosted on servers on the force LAN (local area network) at the station. The devices provide a mobile portal to the servers without holding any data themselves. The thin client set-up means that the use and appearance of these systems on the mobile devices is exactly the same as on the desktop PCs officers were accustomed to using at the station. This eliminated the need for any training for staff.

Within a year of deployment of the first devices, the force could see results. “Our primary objective was to reduce the time spent in the office and increase time spent on patrol,” explains Chief Inspector Colin Reynolds, who is in charge of incident response officers at Warwickshire Police. “Introducing the devices has contributed towards a five to six per cent reduction in time spent in the station.”

Project manager Phil Richardson, who handled the implementation, said: “At Warwickshire, we’ve developed a solution that can be delivered pretty much out-of-the-box, so rolling it out to other forces will be straightforward and would assist in wider police collaboration at a national level.”

Cumbria Constabulary and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service have since completed a similar roll-out of the TETRAtab devices.

In addition to the more than 20 applications and databases already available, Warwickshire Police is adding the national collision reporting system (CRASH), additional form-entry systems, electronic witness statements and remote printing capabilities.

“The introduction of mobile data represents a huge leap forward for almost every aspect of policing,” said Mr Richardson. “We’re confident that we’ll see more benefits and improvements as officers become more comfortable with the devices and continue to innovate their own improvements to traditional working practices.”

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