Staffordshire invests in ‘stabilising’ IT estate

Staffordshire’s ICT Transformation Programme is gathering pace with contracts recently awarded for the provision of a secure wide area network (SWAN) and a new firewall solution.

Aug 12, 2015
By Paul Jacques

Staffordshire’s ICT Transformation Programme is gathering pace with contracts recently awarded for the provision of a secure wide area network (SWAN) and a new firewall solution.

The SWAN will allow data and information to be securely shared across various agencies in Staffordshire and will replace the current system, which according to the Staffordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) is five years old and uses old technology.

It is understood the £450,000 contract with US-owned IT hardware, software and service solutions provider Insight will include maintenance and support.

This project is part of police and crime commissioner Matthew Ellis’ investment in new technology to “stabilise and standardise the IT estate”

and “revolutionise policing in Staffordshire”, which includes the rollout of mobile devices to all frontline officers this year.

Mr Ellis says “the state-of-the-art mobile technology is probably the most radical and practical change to frontline policing in a generation”, adding: “Providing the right tools for the job through the best and latest handheld technology will free up officers to be more visible for more of the time.”

Various devices will be available, will be personal issue and specific to the role of each officer. It will mean officers will no longer have to navigate through lots of systems but be able to access everything that is needed remotely.

The new smartphone and tablet devices are expected to free up an extra 250,000 hours of police time on the beat a year.

The new firewall at Staffordshire Police is designed to improve the security of force’s computer systems. The OPCC says the £357,970 contract with technology services company CSA Waverly is necessary because “the current hardware needs replacing to continue to ensure the secure network boundaries are in place and to allow the force to connect to the Government’s Public Services Network in late 2015”.

New tablet technology is also set to replace the paper records that independent custody visitors (ICVs) have to complete every time they visit a cell. As well as improving accuracy, the forms will provide real-time information to police about the ICVs’ findings.

It follows an IT upgrade in 2013 which gave ICVs direct access to electronic custody records at the force’s three custody sites in Burton, South Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Deputy PCC Sue Arnold said: “This is about giving ICVs the right tools to do their job, making it easier for them to enter information in a uniform way and ensuring that police have quick and easy access to the important information ICVs provide.”

The new technology will be trialled in each custody area before a final decision is made.

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