Staffordshire Cops To Get Tablets In £500,000 Rollout

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The devices are intended to reduce the time spent in police stations filling out paperwork

police handcuff security crime keyboard © Oleksiy Mark ShutterstockStaffordshire police are to be given tablet computers in a £500,000 drive to reduce the time they spend filling out paperwork.

Matthew Ellis, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for the county, called the move a “radical overhaul” to policing technology that would result in a significant improvement in policing, freeing up about 5,000 man hours per week, the equivalent of adding 100 new officers.

‘Radical overhaul’

“A radical overhaul of the way technology is used, the way it works, will fundamentally improve policing and get more police out and about for more of the time,” Ellis stated.

Currently police take statements on paper and later transcribe them on up to six different systems, but after the IT overhaul they will be able to write statements directly on tablets and upload them to a central server, according to Ellis.

The county’s police currently take about 200,000 statements per year.

The roll-out, scheduled for March or April, is also expected to reduce the need for officers to return to police stations for information and to reduce the number of mistakes and incomplete reports.

As a result front-line officers could spend nearly nine out of 10 hours in communities, rather than at police stations, up from six currently, Ellis said.

On the front line

“It’s about police being given more time to do what they want to be doing and what the public want them to be doing, which is out-and-about policing,” he stated.

Tablets will also be used by investigators and in forensics.

The roll-out is part of an IT scheme expected to cost £46m over the next seven years, and which will also include the consolidation of 300 computer systems by a long-term IT partner.

Body cameras have already been given to more than 1,000 officers in the county, and could be deployed to all frontline officers for around £100,000, according to a local press report.

“We want to see more technology used to crack down on crime and to see police on our street 24 hours a day,” stated South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson.

In November 2014 West Yorkshire police announced that 4,000 Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablets would be issued to officers and staff in what was billed as one of the biggest technology deployments in modern policing.

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