Sussex trials tablet computers on the beat

Sussex Police is issuing neighbourhood policing teams with hand-held tablet devices on a trial basis from this month. They will initially be trialled for three months by the neighbourhood response and neighbourhood policing teams of Lewes district. Officers will be provided with secure access to their emails, the force command and control system (STORM) and a further two specially-developed policing applications.

Jul 12, 2012
By Paul Jacques

Sussex Police is issuing neighbourhood policing teams with hand-held tablet devices on a trial basis from this month. They will initially be trialled for three months by the neighbourhood response and neighbourhood policing teams of Lewes district. Officers will be provided with secure access to their emails, the force command and control system (STORM) and a further two specially-developed policing applications.

The tablets will allow officers to complete both crime reports and electronic witness statements while on their beat and away from their station.

They will be funded by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) under the Mobile Information Programme, with design and development costs for the project said to be in the region of £25,000.

A report to the Sussex Police Authority Neighbourhood Policing Scrutiny Committee last month said that Sussex Police will adopt a staged approach to product design and implementation with an initial deployment of ten tablets, increasing to a maximum of 50 in the first few weeks of the programme.

Individual software applications will be created for future deployment based on officer and staff feedback and suggestions.

There are a number of applications at the design stage which include those for providing access to both force and national systems, such as the Police National Computer (PNC), while others provide mobile policing opportunities for recording and managing stop and search encounters.

Chief Constable Martin Richards said in his report to the committee that Sussex Police will be at the “forefront of technology with the tablet as an operating platform”, a relatively new concept to UK policing.

“This technology has a potential to create a truly mobile solution for police officers at a lower cost when compared with laptops and PDAs, the more traditional, mobile platforms for policing,” said Mr Richards.

“The applications will allow officers to complete both crime reports and electronic witness statements while on their beat and away from their station. These applications are very much customer centric and represent an opportunity to improve the service provided in reducing the time taken to record crime and improving the quality of evidence gathered.”

The electronic witness statement provides officers with the ability to capture the customer’s signature in a digital form, in doing so reducing the need for subsequent digitisation of manual forms as is the current practice. They are then securely stored within a digital store which represents the first step in providing digital case file management for the criminal justice system as part of the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) ‘Transforming Through Technology (T3)’ programme that aims to link police and CPS computer systems to allow a completely digital way of working

The stop and search application will improve the quality of this encounter in providing officers with a more detailed view of the person stopped and area around them. An individual’s history including stop and search encounters together with community intelligence and immediate access to colleagues, will improve the practice of stop and search.

Sussex Police says the time taken to complete the process will reduce while the experience for the individual stopped will improve with the accurate application of stop and search and provision of email or text messages to record the event.

An evaluation of the mobile policing devices will incorporate both user and customer experiences to inform future development and deployment.

The committee heard that the terminals have the potential to significantly reduce the cost associated with policing by replacing traditional manual processes with digital opportunities and ‘self-service’ functions. It will also improve service provision by giving officers a more detailed history of their customer experience from which a service can be tailored to fit their individual need.

Related News

Select Vacancies

Copyright © 2022 Police Professional