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 need to 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 this year. The software allows officers to access police records to identify a person, vehicle or location and complete forms, such as ‘Stop and Account’ - an instance where a police officer stops a member of the public to question their behaviour but does not search the individual.
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, combined 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 the 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 in order to complete the associated paperwork.
Sergeant Simon Davies, Project Manager at South Yorkshire Police force, says: “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 are able to remotely ‘kill’ the device to prevent abuse or breach of data.
South Yorkshire Police secured NPIA funding for the project to enable them to provide each police officer with a handheld device equipped with police specific applications and using the Vodafone network and its professional communications services expertise.