Police mobile data scheme to get more officers on the streets after successful trial

PC Paul Jennings with the new Toughpad
PC Paul Jennings with the new Toughpad

The top dog behind a fledgling police mobile data scheme says people can expect to see far more officers out on the street thanks to the ‘on the go’ nature of the project.

Mobile, secure and robust laptops known as Toughpads were rolled out across Herts in October, putting the force at the cutting edge of new policing technology.

Since then the kit, which was specially developed for the county, has been trialled in a brand new fleet of 86 compatible Vauxhall Astra police cars around Herts.

But far from being a glorified ‘iPlod’, the innovative piece of kit can save officers time by reducing the need to return to their patrol bases, instead allowing them to file evidence virtually from the scene of a crime.

Chief Insp Damien Kennedy, who leads the mobile data team, said: “Expect to see more police officers out and about across Herts.

“With the roll-out of the Panasonic Toughpad in vehicles across the force, we are really starting to really reap the benefits.

“The mobile technology is saving operational officers’ time, because they can complete a number of enquiries at the touch of a button without having to return to their patrol base. This in turn means officers are more highly visible and accessible to residents.”

Chief Insp Kennedy acknowledged the equipment had problems with connectivity last year during testing, but said the technology team have worked hard to address this.

The force has invested £3 million in the scheme, with backing from police and crime commissioner David Lloyd, but is designed to save the constabulary huge sums over time.

Chief Insp Kennedy said: “By being more efficient at investigating crime, officers will be able to deal with more crimes as well as being a visible deterrent to offenders. We hope residents will take the opportunity to speak to police officers about any issues they have and come forward with information about incidents they may have witnessed.”

David Lloyd said he is ‘delighted’ to see the results of technological investment in its early stages.

He said: “I believe that by investing in people, and in the kit in their pockets and vehicles, and by ensuring that we have fewer but better police stations and offices, we can deliver radical savings, whilst protecting the future of local policing.

“I have said before that the police service nationally is still playing catch up in a computerised, internet world so it is particularly pleasing that Herts is now at the forefront and poised to reap the benefits.”

Click here to read Hemel Today’s feature on the mobile data launch and view a video report of the technology in action.