O2 Airwave supports Lancashire

Lancashire will become the first UK police force to deploy a multi-bearer force-wide mobile data solution involving up to 3500 users.

Jan 11, 2007
By David Howell
Dr Brian Plastow

Lancashire will become the first UK police force to deploy a multi-bearer force-wide mobile data solution involving up to 3500 users.

Officers throughout Lancashire will soon be using high tech mobile computers that will enable them to spend less time in the station, and more time out on the streets. This is part of a strategic investment designed to reduce unnecessary paperwork, reinforce their nationally recognised levels of quality and performance and provide the public with more visibility of patrolling officers.

O2 Airwave has been awarded the ten-year contract to provide a managed force-wide strategic mobile data solution based around the Airwave Mobile Applications Gateway (MAG) Service and the national secure Airwave TETRA digital communications network.

The solution provides Lancashire with a wide range of device and technology options. Officers are equipped with the most appropriate mobile computer for the task at hand and provides the force with flexibility as it starts to ‘mobilise’ key operational processes such as their new Crime Recording and replacement Command & Control systems.

Device options include fixed ‘in-vehicle’ mobile data terminals (MDTs) and highly portable TETRA enabled PDAs (personal digital assistants).

Lancashire has selected the O2 XDA range of PDAs. A Mobile Applications Gateway (MAG) Service has been developed with the needs of public safety users in mind. Hosted inside the Airwave secure environment, the MAG Service connects to a variety of wireless networks and devices. It allows the customer to manage large numbers of users on the system including security of access, authentication and password management. It is designed to be highly resilient and to support over 100,000 users nationally.

Stuart Fillingham, head of ICT for the force, said: “O2 Airwave has been working with our own development teams and operational officers for almost four years now to develop this solution. Breaking new ground such as this is never without challenges both for the customer and the supplier.

“There were several reasons behind our decision to award such a strategic long-term contract to O2 Airwave. A big factor was their ability to understand our special requirements and build the solution around these requirements. Over the next couple of years we will be developing new mobile versions of our key police systems such as crime recording and command and control. This will involve significant investments in internal resources and we therefore required a future-proofed, long-term mobile data platform that will support these developments well into the next decade.”

Roger Marsden, Mobile Data Programme Director for O2 Airwave has been working on the mobile data solution since its inception. He said: “We have put a tremendous amount of effort into developing and building a resilient and flexible mobile data solution that is able to support such a wide ranging and large-scale complex roll-out. The police are under immense pressure to increase officer visibility and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. By choosing the O2 Airwave mobile data solution, Lancashire Constabulary will now be able to fully exploit the Airwave MAG Service and other O2 products to address these areas.”

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