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Suffolk police bid for digi technology

PUBLISHED: 10:21 17 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:31 05 July 2010

SUFFOLK'S crimebusters will have the latest digital technology at their fingertips if their bosses get the go-ahead to splash out £1.7m.

The county's constabulary believes equipping officers with 570 mobile data devices by the end of next year will revolutionise policing and put more police out on patrol for longer.

SUFFOLK'S crimebusters will have the latest digital technology at their fingertips if their bosses get the go-ahead to splash out £1.7m.

The county's constabulary believes equipping officers with 570 mobile data devices by the end of next year will revolutionise policing and put more police out on patrol for longer.

The vast majority of the £1,711,160 outlay will come from the government funding. This will leave Suffolk police to pay £300,000 if the bidding process is successful.

The force wants 550 hand-held personal digital assistants (PDAs) and 20 vehicle-mounted devices to enable officers to have direct access to a variety of information.

Among the applications and databases they would log in to remotely are crime and intelligence systems, the police national computer and the electoral role.

Those on the beat would also be able to access databases within the constabulary itself such as its intranet, tasking and briefing, and e-mail, along with information on missing persons, and stops and searches.

Chief Inspector Mike Bacon, who is leading the project, said: “The new handheld mobile data devices will revolutionise the way we carry out policing. Having information to hand whilst out on patrol will benefit officers enormously, freeing up their time and reducing the need to return to the station to access information.

“An initial pilot of the devices in Suffolk will be trialled in urban and rural locations across a range of policing roles so we are able to get feedback from officers over a varied geographical area.

“The response from other forces that are already using mobile data has been very positive and they have seen greater efficiency and effectiveness.”

The first stage of the project is due to be in place by June this year in the St Edmundsbury and Mid-Suffolk areas.

On Monday next week Suffolk Police Authority is due to discuss the initial pilot scheme to evaluate the operational benefits of the data devices. It then intends to roll out 200 PDAs and 20 tablet devices - which are vehicle-mounted and detachable - by mid-summer.

The officers involved in this phase of the scheme will include the safer neighbourhood and neighbourhood response teams, roads policing units, and crime investigation teams.

Cable & Wireless/Beat Solutions are the preferred supplier of the mobile data devices for Suffolk.

The equipment would cost £858,660 in this financial year with the remaining £852,500 to be paid in 2009/10.

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