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IT must help cut red tape in police forces, says report

A report on the future of policing in England and Wales has found that better use of technology will be needed to help cut red tape and enable officers to spend more time on the street.

The review, carried out by chief inspector of constabulary, sir Ronnie Flanagan, was published by the Home Office. Flanagan predicts measures such as overhauling the stop-and-search system and reducing paperwork could save five million man hours a year.

He recommended greater use of mobile devices to enable officers to update systems while out of the office.

The National Police Improvement Agency should also begin building standard processes for use across forces, according to Flanagan. He said, "They should address the issue of double-entry information and be used as a precursor to the use of standard IT systems and mobile devices across all forces."

Forces should also be looking at how geographical information systems (GIS) and automatic vehicle location systems (AVLS) could help them.

The report says, "[The NPIA work] should include the creation of minimum standards for forces in areas such as GIS mapping and AVLS corporate performance information.

"Forces should explore the benefits of software systems and using partners' data to identify priority areas."

David Perry, from mobile technology supplier Cognito, said hand-held devices can help police with day-to-day work. "It is important for the police to keep track of their actions, but it is vital that this reporting burden does not impede their ability to actually to their jobs. Information can be inputted into hand-held devices to automatically update the police IT system."


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