Nottinghamshire Police has saved over £1m and increased front-line policing since launching a programme to give officers mobile devices to connect with back-office systems in 2007.
The project enables officers to connect to systems such as command and control, the Police National Computer (PNC) and specialist criminal intelligence databases, while away from the police station.
This example of mobile technology benefiting policing comes the week after after a damning report from the National Audit Office (NAO), which revealed the £80m roll-out of mobile devices across police forces has failed to achieve value for money with only “a basic level of benefits.”
Around 41,000 devices were rolled out across 43 forces before December 2010, ahead of schedule. But not enough consideration was given to how forces would use the mobile technology, how much local spending was required or how realistic were the announced deadlines, said the NAO.
Nottinghamshire Police, however, worked with IT services firm Capita to design and develop technology to enable access to back-office systems via a wireless mobile device and today more than 2,000 smartphones with full mobile data access to police systems are deployed by the force.
“Officers will be doing less paperwork because we are investing in mobile technology which will keep officers out on the beat and is key to creating our financial savings,” said Jon Collins, chairman of Nottinghamshire Police Authority.
According to Andrew Jackson, who worked on the project, the savings are quick to achieve: "On average at least one officer per shift would incur overtime purely to complete paperwork, in particular crime reports. Putting this on a smartphone negates that need and should save the force thousands of pounds per year in overtime payments.”