The UK’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London is equipping frontline police officers with mobile devices (tablets) and specially developed apps. In support of this, mobile operator Vodafone UK has provided iPad minis, 4G connectivity and secure device management in the first instance.
The trial aims to reduce paperwork and to give frontline officers access to vital information on the move – meaning they can spend more time on the beat reducing crime and supporting victims, ultimately keeping London safer.
The current trial using the tablets provided by Vodafone began last summer and 500 frontline officers are now using the devices. Early indications suggest frontline officers using the tablets will save one hour per shift per officer, freeing them up to spend more time on the beat. The Met is now looking at an extension of the trial.
Through the Met's own specially developed apps and a super-fast Vodafone 4G connection, officers are able to securely access and update systems and databases from wherever they are. This means officers no longer need to return to the station to complete paperwork, allowing them to be more visible on London’s streets.
Crucially, for the public, it means frontline officers can collect electronic witness statements and digital signatures at a crime scene, meaning victims of crime no longer need to attend the station at a later time.
Security of data and devices is paramount, so Vodafone worked closely with the Met to provide a level of security for the devices and connectivity that met the necessary, stringent security measures and operational requirements.
“There is a huge opportunity for technology to transform policing, and this trial with Vodafone UK is a fantastic example of the Met making the best use of technology to deliver services to the public in new and innovative ways,” said Superintendent Adrian Hutchinson, Head of Mobility Planning for the Metropolitan Police Service.
“We want officers out on the beat, not stuck in the station filling out paperwork or sat at a computer. Working with Vodafone UK to deliver phase one of the project, we’ve already had a great response from officers who have used the devices, and we are confident that the project will help them to be more visible to the public and ultimately deliver a better service to Londoners,” Superintendent Hutchinson continued.
Phil Mottram, enterprise director from Vodafone UK said: “It is fantastic to see the Met embracing the latest mobile technologies to their full potential. We know that technology can make a huge difference to frontline workers and ultimately to the vital service they deliver to citizens.
“By partnering with organisations such as the MPS we can support them to identify the right technologies that will really make a difference in delivering greater efficiency while improving frontline policing.”
The project is part of the MPS's 'Total Technology’ strategy (2014 to 2017) which sets the direction for an unprecedented transformation in its use of technology. Through one element of this strategy, improving police mobility, the MPS aims to cut crime, increase efficiency and increase public confidence.