MPS looks to extend frontline tablet trial

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is looking to extend its use of tablets by frontline officers, which it says can save each officer up to one hour per shift

Mar 25, 2015
By Paul Jacques

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is looking to extend its use of tablets by frontline officers, which it says can save each officer up to one hour per shift.

It says equipping officers with mobile devices and specially developed apps is transforming frontline policing.

The current trial using Apple iPad minis provided by Vodafone began in Hammersmith and Fulham last summer and 500 frontline officers are now using the devices for a variety of purposes, such as taking witness statements and accessing police software systems on the beat.

Officers have access to Vodafone’s 4G network offering faster connectivity for sending and receiving data. Through the MPS’ own specially-developed apps, officers are able to securely access and update systems and databases from wherever they are.

This means officers no longer need to return to the station to complete paperwork, allowing them to be more visible on London’s streets. Crucially, for the public, says the MPS, it means frontline officers can collect electronic witness statements and digital signatures at a crime scene, meaning victims of crime no longer need to attend the station at a later time.

The 4G network also means officers can work without a wi-fi connection. Vodafone has worked closely with the MPS to provide a level of security for the devices and connectivity that met the necessary, stringent security measures and operational requirements.

“There is a huge opportunity for technology to transform policing and this trial with Vodafone UK is a fantastic example of the Met making the best use of technology to deliver services to the public in new and innovative ways,” said Superintendent Adrian Hutchinson, head of mobility planning for the MPS.

“We want officers out on the beat, not stuck in the station filling out paperwork or sat at a computer. Working with Vodafone UK to deliver phase one of the project, we’ve already had a great response from officers who have used the devices and we are confident that the project will help them to be more visible to the public and ultimately deliver a better service to Londoners.”

The project is part of the MPS’ £200 million three-year ‘Total Technology’ strategy unveiled in February 2014, which sets the direction for an “unprecedented transformation in its use of technology”.

MPS officers are also piloting body-worn video cameras across ten London boroughs to gather evidence in real-time.

By improving police mobility, the MPS is looking to cut crime, increase efficiency and increase public confidence.

The mobile device rollout, which is key to the strategy, will enable end-to-end digital policing, providing real-time information to officers for both investigation purposes and in support of interactions with victims of crime.

The aim is to ensure that 90 per cent of officer transactions are completed via a mobile device such as a tablet, generating time savings that the MPS believes will be equivalent to putting an additional 900 officers on the beat.

The MPS anticipates that more than 15,000 tablets will eventually be issued to frontline officers.

In addition, new policing systems, information management and infrastructure platforms will deliver the foundation for this step-change in the MPS’ information and communications technology (ICT) capability.

Phil Mottram, enterprise director at Vodafone UK, said technology can make a huge difference to frontline workers and ultimately to the vital service they deliver to citizens.

Related News

Copyright © 2022 Police Professional