Lancashire police has launched a trial of mobile data services based on the O2 Airwave system.
Around 250 police officers will use O2 Xda II handheld devices to access information held on the police national computer and Lancashire's own police intelligence system.
Crime fighters are aware that serious criminals often come into contact with the police for minor offences, such as road traffic offences, but are not picked up because of lack of information in officers' hands. Around 30 support staff will also use the system.
Using the handheld devices, Lancashire police officers will receive briefings and tasks from colleagues and supervisors while they are on patrol. This will help officers to spend more time in the community and less at the police station, the constabulary hopes.
Officers will also be able to complete some of their regular reports and update activity logs using electronic forms. These reports will be sent automatically to Lancashire constabulary's central systems.
The police force hopes efficiencies created by the system will allow officers to spend an average of one hour per shift longer in the community rather than at the police station.
The officers will carry O2 Xda II mobile data devices and use O2UK's GPRS network, accessed via the O2 Airwave Mobile Application Gateway (MAG), provided in conjunction with Siemens Communications.
The MAG has in-built intelligence which allows it to be able to interpret a users' request for information, to then access the right sources of information, aggregate that information together, and return it to the user in a logical and intelligent format, O2 said.
Stuart Fillingham, head of Lancashire Constabulary ICT, said, "It is envisaged that this will help officers to be more effective and visible to the communities by having to spend less time in the police station. One of the ultimate objectives of using mobile data is to reduce the time spent by operational officers in police stations by up to one hour per day."