In-house approach saves Staffs Police £300,000 on mobile system

Staffordshire Police has avoided costs of around £300,000 by developing vital components of a mobile computing system in-house.

Staffordshire Police has avoided spending around £300,000 by developing vital components of a mobile computing system in-house.

It made the savings in adapting existing browser access to police computers as it rolled out the first phase of a project which will allow officers on patrol to cut time spent doing paperwork by 10%.

The new system will give the force’s officers the ability to access the Police National Computer and Crime Reporting network from foot or car patrols via handheld machines and a GPRS network.

Police officers are required to fill in six or seven sheets of forms and have to go back to the station to do so. About half of their time is spent in the station rather than on the street - the new system will reduce this by about a tenth.

The solution comprises Panasonic Toughbooks, Citric client and server software delivering handheld-friendly versions of existing Police National Computer and Crime Reporting browsers over an Orange GPRS network.

The force’s IT department saved money by adapting the existing browsers in-house.

Ian de Soyza, project manager for Staffordshire Police, said, "We cut down the Police National Computer and Crime Reporting browsers using an HTML and Java layer to deliver data fields to the Toughbooks. If we had had to develop all new bespoke software for this it would have cost several hundred thousand pounds. In fact, one supplier put in a bid of £300,000 to do the work. We did it for £30,000."

The initial rollout has been to 60 officers, with a full-scale deployment to the force’s 2,000 constables due by the end of 2004.

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