Officers given real-time mobile access

More than 600 South Yorkshire Police officers will be able to access police records on the move, meaning less time at the station and more time in the community.

Sep 3, 2009
By Paul Jacques

More than 600 South Yorkshire Police officers will be able to access police records on the move, meaning less time at the station and more time in the community.
South Yorkshire Police is to give its frontline officers access to real-time police information and records on their mobile phones, through a service developed by Vodafone and Airpoint.
This is the first time that officers have been given access to police information and records on the move. Reducing the amount of time that officers spend filing reports back at the station will give them more time to spend out on the beat, delivering an improved service to the community.
The bespoke mobile service will be made available to frontline officers at South Yorkshire Police in October. The software allows officers to access police records to identify a person, vehicle or location and complete forms, such as ‘stop and account’.
This single process of inputting and accessing information while out on patrol is expected to have a significant impact on the efficiency of policing at South Yorkshire Police. A business analyst recently found that it can take an average of five weeks to enter a stop and account form into the database and even longer if the form is submitted incorrectly. Last year, 855 working days were spent inputting these forms, coupled with a high return rate for incorrect entries.
BlackBerrys provided by Vodafone will reduce the time involved in this process as it will be automated from a Police National Computer (PNC) check and entered straight into the form. Having the ability to input the forms at the touch of a button will reduce the burden of having to return to the station after incidents to complete the associated paperwork.
Sergeant Simon Davies, project manager at South Yorkshire Police, explained: “We have been looking at ways to streamline the way we work, as our processes are either paper-based or rely on IT systems, only accessible in the station. Enabling our officers to access key information on the move is a major step forward and we’re expecting to see the community benefit from a more visible force continually patrolling the neighbourhoods.”
Should the device be lost or stolen it is automatically locked and password protected within 15 minutes. Once it has been reported missing the IT department is able to remotely ‘kill’ the device to prevent abuse or breach of data.
South Yorkshire Police secured funding from the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) for the project to provide each officer with a handheld device equipped with police-specific applications using the Vodafone network.

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