New investment for police hand-held computers

The Government is to spend an extra £25 million to put thousands more mobile devices in the hands of police to further reduce paperwork and give officers on-the-spot access to information when on patrol.

Jul 31, 2008
By Paul Jacques

The Government is to spend an extra £25 million to put thousands more mobile devices in the hands of police to further reduce paperwork and give officers on-the-spot access to information when on patrol.

This second round of investment follows a previous Home Office grant of £50 million allocated in May to furnish 27 police forces with 10,000 mobile computers.

The new funding will allow for a further 15,000 handheld computers to be in use by police by March 2010. This will take the total up to around 30,000 devices.

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) will manage the additional distribution of funds.

The allocation comes in conjunction with the publication of the Government Green Paper, which highlights the need to further reduce bureaucracy and paperwork for police officers and further enhance the service delivered to the public.

The Green Paper picked up on a number of themes also highlighted in the Flanagan Review of Policing.

Chief information officer at the NPIA, Richard Earland, said: “We welcome the recommendations in the Green Paper concerning the additional funding and the commitment to increase the time officers spend on patrol.

“When used appropriately, hand-held computers keep officers out in the community and make them visible to the public. With mobile devices they find it easier to access information at the point of need, leading to greater efficiency and reassurance for the public.

Hampshire Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for the Mobile Information Programme said: “Mobile computers are absolutely critical to a modern police officer. Having information in the right place at the right time, which is up-to-date and accurate, is vital to help officers with their work with the public.”

The announcement also forms part of the broader programme of the NPIA’s work to bring together police IT which will better support the development and use of information systems in policing and improvements in service for frontline officers and citizens.

The Prime Minister has made a commitment that there will be 10,000 handheld computers in use by September 2008. This new funding will develop mobile information into the medium term – as a result of the two phases of central investment.

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